This Day in Failure: February 18

2020: A day before the Federal Judge Association holds an emergency meeting to address growing concerns about the recent intervention of President Donald Trump and the Justice Department in politically sensitive cases, Trump grants full pardons to seven convicted criminals and issues commutations for four others.

The criminals pardoned include “junk bond king” Michael Milken; former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, a close ally of Rudy Guiliani; and the former owner of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, Edward DeBartolo, Jr.

The commutations include: former Illinois governor Rod R. Blagojevich, who had been sentenced to 14 years in prison for trying to sell or trade to the highest bidder the Senate seat that Barack Obama vacated after being elected president; and Judith Negron, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2011 for her role in orchestrating a $205 million Medicare fraud scheme.

2008: Civil War relic dealer Samuel White, 53, is killed in his driveway when the nine-inch, 75-pound naval cannonball he is restoring explodes in his face. The blast sends a chunk of shrapnel through the front porch of a house a quarter-mile from White’s Chester, Virginia home and raises concerns about the dangers presented by munitions that remain buried on old Civil War battlefields.

1998: Two white separatists are arrested in Nevada, accused of plotting a bacterial attack on the New York City subway system.

1970: Five of the Chicago Seven are found guilty of crossing a state line with intent to incite at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.