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Pardon from Trump lifts ‘the scarlet letter’ from Utah man

Posted at 5:48 PM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 20:10:42-05

SALT LAKE CITY — In his final hours in the White House, President Donald Trump issued clemency to 143 people, including one Utah man.

Trump gave a pardon to Lynn W. Barney, 41, of Enoch. Barney, though, didn’t have time to talk about it Wednesday.

He was at his job in the construction industry. Barney’s wife, Sarah Barney, spread the news to friends and family.

READ: Trump issues 73 more pardons, commutes 70 sentences

“We live in America,” Sarah Barney told FOX 13. “People make mistakes all the time. His just happened to get them in trouble with the law.”

“He is seriously the hardest working man I've ever met in my life, besides my dad,” she added.

Lynn Barney was still in his early 20s when he was convicted of a marijuana charge in state court, according to public records. Then in May 2004, sheriff’s deputies in St. George found Barney with a .25-caliber pistol.

Barney pleaded guilty in federal court to a count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to 35 months in prison. He was released in January 2007.

READ: Pardon list leaves off 'Tiger King' Joe Exotic

“It's like the scarlet letter,” Sarah Barney said of her husband’s felony convictions. “It puts a big ‘F’ on your forehead.”

Sarah Barney met her now-husband after he exited prison. She said she rented him his apartment.

“A lot of apartment complexes will not rent to a convicted felon,” she said, “but my manager said, ‘Hey, I believe in second chances.’ And so for that reason, we were able to rent him his apartment.”

The Barneys have four children.

Lynn Barney’s criminal record in state court has already been expunged, his wife said. He wanted a clean slate in federal court, too.

Lynn Barney completed an application for clemency. Friends helped the Barneys get in contact with Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Chris Stewart, who supported pardon.

“Lynn Barney is an exceptional husband and father,” Lee said in a statement through his office. “He has truly turned his life around and now just wants to hunt with his kids like his father did before him.

“I thank President Trump for listening to his case and making the compassionate decision.”

READ: Trump pardons group of allies for various federal crimes

A spokesperson for Stewart said in an email: “Mr. Stewart supported Mr. Barney’s pardon and is happy for him and his family.”
Barney wasn’t the only Utah connection to the final pardons and commutations of the Trump presidency. The New York Times recently reported former U.S. Attorney for Utah Brett Tolman was lobbying the administration on behalf of people wanting clemency for themselves or loved ones.

In the news release announcing the 143 clemency cases, Tolman was mentioned as supporting five of the beneficiaries. Four of them received commutations; one a pardon. Tolman did not return messages seeking comment.

Sarah Barney hopes people know that average Americans can receive second chances, too.

“Everyone that you do see getting pardoned,” she said, “they are big guys. They have millions of dollars. And so they can afford to pay someone to have it done.

“And so that's why we're sharing [news of the pardon], so that it can give hope to the little man.”