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Donald Trump pardons former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr.

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump on Tuesday pardoned Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former San Francisco 49ers owner convicted in a gambling fraud scandal who built one of the most successful NFL teams in the game's history.

DeBartolo, who owned the San Francisco 49ers during their 1980s-1990s dynasty, was involved in one of the biggest owners' scandals in the sport's history. In 1998, he pleaded guilty to failing to report a felony when he paid $400,000 to former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards in exchange for a riverboat gambling license.

The White House announced the surprise decision to reporters on Tuesday, with NFL greats Jerry Rice, Jim Brown, Ronnie Lott and Charles Haley in attendance.

"You know what, we all make mistakes and today the president cleared that mistake from him," said Haley, an NFL Hall of Fame defensive end who played on two of DeBartolo's Super Bowl winning teams.

DeBartolo, whose San Francisco 49ers won five Super Bowls under his leadership, stepped down as owner in 1997 after two Louisiana newspapers reported he would be indicted for gambling fraud.

Copyright by the 2020 Associated Press

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