The first Black Secret Service agent, who served under John F. Kennedy, became one of the first pardons Joe Biden granted as president on Tuesday (April 26).
Abraham Bolden Sr., the first Black agent to work on a presidential detail, along with two others, were granted pardons amid Clemency and Second Chance Month.
Bolden, now 86-years-old, was accused of selling a copy of a Secret Service file for $50,000 and charged with federal bribery during the Kennedy administration.
Charges were brought against the former Secret Service agent after he reported his colleagues for drinking while working, chasing women, and neglecting their security responsibilities, Daily Mail reports. Bolden said he frequently faced racist abuse while on the job for former president Kennedy.
After two trials, a jury found Bolden guilty of federal bribery, despite Bolden insisting he was innocent and the subject of a racist conspiracy. Bolden wasn’t given a retrial and found himself in federal prison for several years.
The Biden administration announced Bolden’s pardon and 75 commutations for low-level drug crimes as it launched a series of job training and reentry programs for the incarcerated.
Biden said in a statement, “America is a nation of laws and second chances, redemption, and rehabilitation.”
He continued, “While today’s announcement marks important progress, my Administration will continue to review clemency petitions and deliver reforms that advance equity and justice, provide second chances, and enhance the wellbeing and safety of all Americans.”