Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard leaves a federal courthouse in New York.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Figures close to Jonathan Pollard have spoken with advisers to US President-elect Donald Trump about allowing the convicted spy to move to Israel, sources close to Pollard told The Jerusalem Post following Trump’s election.
Pollard was released from prison on November 20, 2015, after serving 30 years of a life sentence for spying for Israel. But his restrictive parole conditions now prevent him from moving anywhere for five years, even a small distance from New York.
A presidential commutation to time served could enable Pollard to fulfill his dream of living in the Jewish state. One is very unlikely to come from outgoing president Barack Obama, but it could come from Trump, who has never been asked publicly about Pollard.
“We have been in touch,” a source close to Pollard said.
“Now we wait and pray.”
Pollard’s lawyer Eliot Lauer will submit an appeal on Friday of US District Judge Katherine Forrest’s decision to keep in place the parole conditions currently in effect.
In August, Forrest rejected Pollard’s request to cancel requirements imposed by the US Parole Commission. Those conditions prevent him from leaving his New York home after 7 p.m. or before 7 a.m., force him to submit any computer he uses for inspection, and require him to wear a GPS monitoring device that forces him to violate the Sabbath. Forrest ruled that the commission had a rational basis for imposing the conditions, including Pollard’s expressed desire to leave the United States for Israel.
During court proceedings, Forrest said that even if the court were to come to a different conclusion than the government over Pollard’s parole restrictions, the “rational basis” test only require the restrictions to be grounded in some rational basis, a low legal burden.
Lauer will appeal, saying the parole commission’s requirements were imposed arbitrarily, and that it is inconceivable that Pollard could still disclose government secrets from more than 30 years ago.