— NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) April 14, 2017
On Thursday, Trump punching bag Chris Christie spoke at a prisoner re-entry conference in New Jersey. Mike Tyson was also a speaker at the event, and even went so far as to gift Christie with a title belt for his work on prisoner reentry, including an education initiative, which has become a prime focal point for Christie’s second term. However, the highlight of the event (as shown in the above NBC New York clip) was Tyson asking Christie when Donald Trump, who the former heavyweight champ endorsed in 2016, was going to grant him a pardon.
“Man, Governor, I wish you could talk to Donald Trump,” he said as hundreds of people in the audience laughed, unsure where he was about to go with his comments. “He said he was going to give me my pardon. So I’m waiting for my pardon. He said that out of his mouth, so I’m waiting.”
“I’ll put that on my list for the next phone call, Mike,” Christie joked in response Thursday as the audience continue to laugh. Christie, a longtime friend of the Trump family, says he has regular conversations with the president.
A Tyson spokesperson told NJ.com that Tyson was saying “partner” and not “pardon,” though it seems clear that Christie heard latter, replying, “I didn’t know what I was going to talk to him about next. Now I got it: Got the pardon to work on. That’s good.”
It’s unclear for what offense Tyson is seeking a pardon. In 1992, after being convicted of raping pageant contestant Desiree Washington, Donald Trump appeared on Howard Stern’s radio program and called the verdict “a travesty.”
According to CNN, it was one of several instances where Trump publicly came to the defense of Tyson that year:
Trump vigorously and very publicly defended Tyson during his rape trial in early 1992, proposing that Tyson be allowed to pay off victim Desiree Washington with money from future boxing fights instead of serving time in prison. Speaking with NBC Nightly News on Feb. 21, 1992, he said Tyson was “railroaded in the case” and suggested the victim wasn’t a victim at all. Trump also told New York magazine Tyson relayed to him that the victim “wanted it real bad.”
Tyson was convicted in Indiana at the state level. The President can only issue federal pardons.