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Published: 8/6/2009

Ex-OSU grid star Clarett withdraws request for pardon

BY BRUCE CADWALLADER
COLUMBUS DISPATCH

COLUMBUS - Maurice Clarett has officially withdrawn his request for clemency or a governor's pardon.

The former Ohio State running back is serving a 7 1/2-year sentence for robbery and gun convictions but in April had filed a motion with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction asking Gov. Ted Strickland for a pardon.

A pardon would have released Clarett immediately from prison, but applications must be vetted by the Ohio Adult Parole Authority.

A spokesman for the state prison department said yesterday that Clarett's attorney withdrew the request on Monday.

In his application, Clarett said he hoped to leave prison early to earn money as a public speaker and possibly resume a football career in Canada or the NFL.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien opposed the request, saying that because of Clarett's conduct off the playing field, he didn't deserve special consideration.

"My observation was then and is now he had no chance of obtaining clemency under the statute or by action of the governor, so it's probably wise" that he withdrew the request, Mr. O'Brien said.

Clarett, 25, is an inmate at the Toledo Correctional Institution.

He pleaded guilty in 2006 to charges of aggravated robbery and carrying a concealed weapon.

The charges stemmed from a chain of events that began with an armed robbery on Jan. 1, 2006, and ended about seven months later when he was arrested wearing a bulletproof vest with four weapons in his car less than a mile from one of the robbery victims.

Clarett may apply for judicial release later this year from Common Pleas Judge David W. Fais.

During his only season at Ohio State, Clarett helped lead Ohio State to the national championship.

He was drafted by the NFL's Denver Broncos in 2005, but did not make the team.



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