back to article Among those pardoned by Trump this week: Software maker ex-CEO who admitted hacking into rivals' systems

The former CEO of education software business Symplicity was pardoned by President Donald Trump this week, almost six years after the suit admitted hacking into two rivals’ computer systems. In May 2014, Ariel Friedler 'fessed up to the FBI that he, and two coworkers, had cracked the account passwords of their former customers …


  1. Kev99

    What's this about the fox guarding the hen house? I wonder how much cash he had to bribe Christie.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Or maybe how much did he have to donate to the Trump campaign? Looking at all the pardons, they do seem to be for big money types except for the military type who got a pardon after being convicted of beating prisoners.

      1. Tom Servo

        Well Pogue's family donated $200K to Trump's campaign in the last 6 months having donated $10K total to the republican party previously, so there's the price of freedom.

        This shit stinks to high heaven that someone like Milken gets pardoned because it's seen as a "victimless Crime", and people are getting executed if they are too poor and black.

        And before Bob shows up, this isn't a Trump issue - Clinton pardoning Rich hours before leaving office is also just as craven -it's just especially galling for someone who's "draining the swamp".

        I will give Trump credit for his strategy of not giving one shit about protesting innocence with all the self-dealing etc, but by dragging everyone else down to appear everyone's just as bad and corrupt in the public's eye which seems to be working.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          $200K for a presidential pardon? Sounds like a bargain to be honest. Wasn't there some old saying about billionaires being less susceptible to corruption and bribery, therefore being one was almost a requirement to get the GOP nomination.

          Guess their golden one turned out to be the 20-dolla-is-20 dolla type.

          1. veti Silver badge

            This is the man who, when sent a personal check* for $0.13, actually took the time to pay it in to his bank.

            ("Cheque" to us English-speakers, but since everyone involved in this story was American we should let them have this.)

        2. Kabukiwookie

          Politics in the US has nothing to do with Reps vs Dems. It's corrupt establishment vs working people, with corrupt establishment populating both the ranks of Reps and Dems elite.

        3. JimboSmith Silver badge

          There's no such thing as a victimless crime and Milken shouldn't be pardoned. It doesn't matter who pardoned him that's just wrong. What's next Madoff?

    2. veti Silver badge

      I doubt if cash was involved. Too easy to trace. More likely backscratching.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Criminal Elements

    Birds of a feather flock together.

  3. IGotOut Silver badge


    ...some poor innocent black guy is left to rot in some shit hole because he can't afford the cash bail.

    USA...the best legal system money can buy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: meanwhile...

      USA...the best Political system money can buy.

      There fixed it for you.

      Remember that most politicians are by training Lawyers. They have to protect their bretherin with more and more laws.

      Everyone in the USA is a criminal. most don't know it (yet). That's life in La La Land.

      1. Sulky

        Re: meanwhile...

        The Best Democracy Money Can Buy ......... Excellent read,

      2. veti Silver badge

        Re: meanwhile...

        When you're a lawyer, every problem looks like a legal problem that can be solved by correcting the law. That's to be expected. It's a reason why we should look for more diversity in our elected representatives.

        (Lawyers are OK in moderation. So are businesspeople, and engineers, and journalists, drivers and glaziers and even bankers. But when any one faction becomes dominant, it distorts everything. And don't even get me started on those kids who go into politics straight from university, without ever having had a real job...)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: meanwhile...

      Bail for non-federal crimes (ie most) is set by the state that has jurisdiction. Excessive bail/bond requirements have nothing to do with the President.

  4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Don't let the swamp dry out

    And yet the fuckwits will still queue to vote for the guy…

    1. Dr Scrum Master

      Re: Don't let the swamp dry out

      Just like they voted for the other guys who did the same thing...

      1. Tom 35

        Re: Don't let the swamp dry out

        No, they are not all the same. Trump is at least a magnitude worse in every way.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Don't let the swamp dry out

          Cronyism has often dogged the US presidency. But then again it has also always dogged Congress: support for an election campaign in return for favours done, or favours promised from local sheriff or judge all the way up to the Senate is the American Way™.

        2. ShadowDragon8685

          Re: Don't let the swamp dry out

          Except in *two* key measures, by the twisted reckoning of a frighteningly high proportion of American voters, that matters to them:

          He's Male, and he's White. And those qualifications mean a terrifying lot to a lot of American voters.

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Don't let the swamp dry out

        "the other guys who did the same thing"

        citation needed

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Don't let the swamp dry out

          Read some history. Lots of Presidents involved in money scandals.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Ah, Trump

    The shit stains you leave everywhere will provide a mountain of work for historians to pontificate on for decades to come.

    Your mere existence in the White House is a demonstration of how broken Democracy is in the USA. And you're breaking it a bit more every day, this time by whitewashing your scummy pals.

    I would say shame on you, but you don't know the meaning of the word.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It needs to be SOP everywhere that the moment a head of government leaves office an investigation starts to look for any criminal activity in their conduct in office and in the run up to it. Any offences should be pursued through the normal criminal courts, not by a political process such as impeachment. And, of course, attempts by the current govt to influence the investigation of the previous one will in turn be looked at.

    1. chubby_moth

      In most democracies a politician in government that would have only a whiff of the idea that he done anything like Trump would have been enough for his resignation. Only in a f'd up political system like the US could someone have survived getting caught inciting foreign governments to corruption with an official policy in place that means to prevent corruption.

      And meanwhile I don't hear anything about the involvement of Rick Perry and the possibility of delivering NLG through the three stooges, which without the Nordstrom2 pipe would be more feasible. And how much will Koch inc. etc. have made through warmongering increased oil prices in the Hormuz straights? Thank you Don for being such a pal. Take from the poor and give to the rich. What you see and hear isn't true. Believe me.

      Every tweet made markets jump and how much would it take to make disaster Don react? If the taped conversation at the lunch with Trump is anything to go by all you need to do is whisper the right words and off he goes... Take them out with a tweet! Sweet short tweet and rake in the rewards! The useful idiot of corporate America and fraudsters worldwide.

      Now,.. if I didn't perceive the dwindling of the devil we know a bigger evil than the emergence of the CCP as economic titan with Chinese characteristics (ruler for life, happy eunuchs, nepotism, red envelopes, new speak, etc.), I wouldn't mind the total meltdown of US political influence around the world. However, with an ongoing existential crisis popping up, I would like some type of positive international effort on that issue.

      Capitalist mind control with waspish characteristics, Chinese, Mark's, Jeff's or Rupert's, it hardly matters in this Orwellian distopia we managed to create. It certainly becomes more difficult to make sense of it all, the question here is if the D wants to create prezzidense as they are all big money fraudsters or psychopaths. Hey,.. if he can pardon them,... Right!? President is always right. Pardon's for sale!

      Obviously Trump was targeted from the start for impeachment. That is to keep them honest is the idea as explained in the "Trias Politica" concept. I can recall Clinton's investigation veering of to cheating and lying about it in then puritan US. Oooh,... Blame Monica for it and let's get over it. Mitterand in France said "Soit?" about his offspring in France at that period, so it seemed a rather weak case. He lied,.. about cheating on his Hill. Duh,... Even I can envision picking Trump over her as well in that respect. But admit a mistake when you make it.

      Trump might however not have given a plurality of reasons why impeachment might be a good idea though. Obviously he feels invulnerable to get away with anything as some die hard RNC's dancing around Ruth to get her spin dizzy. The goals merit the means,...

      The US as a whole lost in any perspective you place it and I fear more to come. The constitutional crisis is far from over.

      Meanwhile lush banana groves keep sprouting from the land of corn, commerce and geriatric crackpots running for president.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        I think you're over confident about modern states in general. All Trump seems to be doing is pushing the envelope a bit more and I fully expect others to follow.

      2. Palpy

        chubby_moth: "I fear more to come..."

        Me too. There are reasons authoritarian non-thinkers are gaining power around the world, and I think it will get worse.

        Turkey faces a refugee crisis as well as economic woes and restive Kurds. People are scared, and when scared, they stop thinking clearly and they vote for big-daddy figures. Hence Recep Erdogan.

        Well, Brexit and Boris Johnson. Would you Brits say the general pop, especially those of an isolationist, nationalist bent, were running scared before and during May's tenure? Is Johnson a big-daddy authoritarian figure to them?

        Here in the USA, the lower and low-middle classes see their quality of life declining while religious conservatives (quite a lot of overlap with the previous group) see greater egalitarian freedom. And those who even subconsciously view white culture as superior see more and more brown faces in the demographic, to their dismay. All these things cause angst, and thus a desire for an "Only I can fix it!" authoritarian leader.

        France and Canada buck the trend so far.

        But I don't think the world will become a more peaceful place any time soon, nor will migrants quit migrating, nor will the gap between rich and poor cease widening.

        So large demographics in many countries, including the USA, will continue to support crypto-fascism and authoritarianism. The risk of outright dictatorship is quite real.

    2. tfewster Silver badge

      Terry Pratchett developed that idea to its ultimate conclusion in The Last Continent:

      “We put all our politicians in prison as soon as they’re elected. Don’t you?”


      “It saves time.”

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Dark Art Reward of Unintended Consequences

    Is it any wonder that Uncle Sam adds more enemies than friends to its lists of fearsome persons of fearless interest?

  8. adam payne

    According to Christie: “It was a complete overreaction by the US attorney’s office. He acknowledged that he did something wrong but he didn’t deserve to be a federal felon....

    Commit a crime and you have to deal with the consequences of your actions.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan

      you have to deal with the consequences of your actions

      That's a very non-uber-wealthy attitude you have there.

      Modern-day USA reminds me greatly of the later Roman Empire - thoroughly rotted from within but not yet weak enough to fall.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        It's certainly a very non-Chris-Christie attitude. He's the quintessential "one law for me and my friends, another law for everyone else" guy.

    2. EnviableOne Silver badge

      Commit a crime and you have to deal with the consequences of Pay For your actions.


    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Commit a crime and you have to deal with the consequences of your actions.

      But they can choose to answer for their actions before GOD, rather than the regular courts, if they are rich and powerful and religious enough.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Wasn't there something about an eye of a needle?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Things just started to look better for Harvey Weinstein

    New defence plan: hope Trump gets re-elected, say sorry loud and often, and donate, donate donate.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Things just started to look better for Harvey Weinstein

      Trump doesn't have pardon power for state crimes.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Things just started to look better for Harvey Weinstein

        Who's going to tell him?

  10. Peter2 Silver badge

    The article linked to reads as if the chap has reformed and spent years after he left prison helping inmates return to normal society avoid falling back into re-offending. A quick search of his name suggests that he was given his law license back years ago in tribute for this work, and that he's now receiving a pardon simply to wipe his criminal record clean.

    That doesn't look too horribly shady; similar things happen in the UK in lieu of an MBE, BEM or similar gong, although I think a boring committee nobody can even remember the name of is more appropriate than any politician doing it.

  11. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    King Trump

    It's entertaining that Trump is busy restoring America to the status prior to the American Revolutionary War of Independence. The country is now ruled by a King again.

    What's coming next, a change in the law because forcing a President out of office after two terms is betraying democracy and the will of the people?

    The US and the UK are suffering from the same political nightmare, Johnson's next move will be to remove the Fixed-term Parliaments Act so that politicians can force elections when their popularity peaks - the universal principal in US/UK politics now is that elections are undemocratic because they are ignoring the will of the people when they elected the current candidate.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: King Trump

      The US and the UK are suffering from the same political nightmare, Johnson's next move will be to remove the Fixed-term Parliaments Act so that politicians can force elections when their popularity peaks - the universal principal in US/UK politics now is that elections are undemocratic because they are ignoring the will of the people when they elected the current candidate. .... Version 1.0

      The UK is under current attack from the Tory Taliban, is it not?

    2. Aqua Marina

      Re: King Trump

      A thought occurred to me this morning. In light of recent events that Facebook-and-friends profiling helped get Trump elected, and that Trump ignored precedent that Presidents resign from all commercial activities and companies upon taking office, and that Trump lies and acts with impunity and arranges to have his own bad behaviour pardoned. How long is it going to be before one of the Facebook-and-friends CEOs decides to

      a) Run for office

      b) Uses targeted profiling to get themselves loved and elected by the people.

      c) Set about ensuring that the needs of the people, is replaced with the needs of the company.

      d) x

      e) Profit

      I'm seriously thinking that the corporate owned America of the Robocop films is literally round the corner, with the population and local authorities being in debt to "The Company" for life.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: King Trump

        Have you ever thought about how Mark Zuckerberg would run for President? He effectively controls all social media, even those he doesn't own, they watch and emulate his every move - essentially he has all the detailed information on every US citizen he needs to win the presidential race.

        1. Aqua Marina

          Re: King Trump

          No, the thought never occurred to me!

    3. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: King Trump

      What's coming next, a change in the law because forcing a President out of office after two terms is betraying democracy and the will of the people?

      If you recall Dershowitz's defence of Trump in the Senate, a sitting politician can do whatever he wants to ensure he stays in office but only as long as he's convinced that his re-election is for the good of the people.

      Hail Trump!


    4. Fading

      Re: King Trump

      You do realise that the FTP act was only introduced as part of the agreement for the Tory/Lib Dem coalition of 2010? And forcing an election when it might be popular? What foul attack on democracy is that?

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: King Trump

        Oh yes, but the Tories used the Tory/Lib Dem coalition to destroy the Liberal Party - that was the whole point of the coalition for the Tories, they used it to ram Tory politics down everyone's throats under the illusion that the Tories were now "liberals" ... LOL, cough, choke.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: King Trump

          The Lib-Dems' problem was that their supporters were largely protest voters. For them it wouldn't matter what the party's policies were, it just enabled them to wash decry whatever the government did because, left or right, they hadn't voted for it. When Clegg made the entirely responsible decision to go into a coalition they threw a collective wobbler because the party they'd voted for now had to deal with real situations and make real and hard choices.

    5. veti Silver badge

      Re: King Trump

      Johnson's next move will be to remove the Fixed-term Parliaments Act so that politicians can force elections when their popularity peaks

      Or to put it another way, restore the condition the UK somehow managed to live with until 2011. That doesn't sound so bad to me, particularly since the FTP Act gave rise to that farce back in October.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: King Trump

        Elections should not be in the gift of the current government. The FTP Act was intended to remove the ability of governments to go to the polls when it suited them. I agree with this - calling an election should be a function of time, unless a majority (preferably, a super-majority) of MPs want one earlier. It would be even better if the electorate had some say, too, but that is a loooong way off (if ever).

    6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: King Trump

      "The US and the UK are suffering from the same political nightmare"

      Ultimately, the US's political nightmare is to combine Head of Government with Head of State. They have no excuse for that because by the time they became independent separating them more or less accomplished in Britain.


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