Temple Seeks Bush Pardon

The former campaign manager for Georgia Schools Superintendent Linda Schrenko, who was convicted for embezzling more than $600,000 in federal education money, is asking for a presidential pardon.

The AP reported Saturday that Merle Temple cited his wife’s potentially terminal medical condition as well as his history of public service in his letter to President Bush.

Temple pleaded guilty in January 2005 to charges of conspiracy, theft of federal funds and wire fraud. In September, he was sentenced to eight years and one month in federal prison in Edgefield County, SC.

From the AP:

Merle Temple said in an undated letter to the president that he is asking for a pardon because of his wife’s medical condition.

“I would not ask for a full pardon, but my wife has suffered a massive stroke, and I fear I will never see her again,” he wrote in the letter.

Temple, 58, of Evans, Ga., was the deputy superintendent and eventually became Schrenko’s campaign manager in her failed 2002 gubernatorial bid. In court, he was also described as Schrenko’s lover.

Temple’s attorney, John T. Garcia, argued for a lesser sentence during Temple’s September sentencing hearing because the former aide takes care of his ill wife, who has diabetes and has suffered multiple strokes and several heart attacks.

Garcia blamed Temple’s actions with Schrenko in part on his obsessive compulsive disorder, and said Temple had lived an exemplary life up until his work with Schrenko.

But federal prosecutor Russell Vineyard argued for a full sentence for Temple, calling his actions “egregious.”

During his sentencing, Temple told the judge he hoped to serve his time at the Edgefield prison, which is 45 minutes from his house in Evans. He has already paid the $199,500 he owes in restitution.

Temple had been expected to testify against Schrenko as part of his plea agreement. But in the middle of Schrenko’s May trial, she struck a plea deal in exchange for testifying against her co-defendants.

The deal led to the imprisonment of Temple, who was charged with obstruction of justice on suspicion of leaking information to her lawyers.