Ardmore, Pa. radio host among those pardoned by Trump during final hours of presidency

Thursday, January 21, 2021
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An Ardmore radio host was among those pardoned during Donald Trump's final hours as president.

ARDMORE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- In the waning hours of his time in office, President Donald Trump late Tuesday issued a final batch of pardons and commutations to a group that included former White House strategist Steve Bannon and two other longtime political allies, Elliott Broidy and Paul Erickson, in a move that will further solidify Trump's legacy of using his sweeping presidential powers to benefit his inner circle.

The latest batch of names, released by the White House on Trump's final night as president, granted 73 pardons and commuted all or part of the sentence of 70 additional individuals, after Trump had already issued several dozen such directives in recent months.

Among those pardoned was Gary Hendler of Ardmore, Pennsylvania.

"I went down the list and all of a sudden I saw my name and I absolutely couldn't believe it. I had to look at it three of four times to make sure I still wasn't sleeping," said Hendler.

So, you can imagine his shock Wednesday as he woke up to find his six-year quest for a pardon was finally granted.

"It was as if I just hit the lottery," Hendler explained.

It was nearly 40 years ago, the now-married father of two was convicted of conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances.

He was specifically busted for his brief involvement in opening up a quaalude clinic in Philadelphia with some friends from college.

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Hendler said he was kicked out of the ill-fated and illegal venture.

Then in 1982, Hendler said he decided to turn his life around and get clean.

Two years later, when the clinic was busted by the feds, Hendler's lack of involvement and sobriety led to only three years probation.

"I really wanted this since I got sober in 1982," Hendler said.

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He applied for a pardon during the Obama administration, unsure which president would ultimately grant the request.

He believes his nearly four decades of service in helping others recover from their addictions made for a good case.

Hendler now hosts a radio show on the same topic and is also a realtor in the area.

He was also recently appointed by Gov. Tom Wolf to serve as a member of the Pennsylvania Advisory Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

Though not essential to his day to day, Hendler says the presidential pardon does bring about closure.

"It's a final chapter on my life of drug addiction and criminal activities," said Hendler. "It just feels really good."

ABC News contributed to this report.