*Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told The Associated Press on Thursday he does not plan to pardon two sisters he released from prison earlier this year on the condition that one donates a kidney to the other.
Barbour, a potential 2012 presidential candidate, was asked what he’ll say to a pardon request that the attorney for Jamie and Gladys Scott plans to file Friday.
“I wouldn’t hold my breath,” Barbour responded.
Asked to elaborate on the possibility of a pardon, Barbour told the AP: “Tell ’em don’t save any space in the newspaper for that to be announced.”
Supporters had hoped the governor’s presidential ambitions would make him more inclined to pardon the women because of the effect it could have on his image.
The Scott sisters’ attorney, Chokwe Lumumba, is sponsoring a rally today outside the Governor’s Mansion and state Capitol to seek support for a full pardon for the women. Lumumba said a full pardon would help them find jobs. Both sisters plan to attend the rally.
Told about Barbour’s comments Thursday, Lumumba responded: “We don’t intend to hold back our outrage at injustice and we don’t intend to stop fighting for justice.”
As previously reported, the women served nearly 16 years of life sentences for an armed robbery they say they didn’t commit. Jamie Scott suffers from kidney failure, and Gladys Scott offered to donate a kidney to her.
They’re living with relatives in Pensacola, Fla., and their surgery has not yet been scheduled, Lumumba said Thursday. For now, their doctors won’t even test them for compatibility until both lose weight and Gladys Scott quits her heavy smoking.
Reached Thursday in Florida, Jamie Scott had little reaction to Barbour’s comments.
“We will see, won’t we?” Jamie Scott said before referring questions to Lumumba.
Civil rights advocates had called for the sisters’ freedom for years, saying their sentences were too harsh for the crime. They were convicted in 1994 of participating in the robbery of two men on Christmas Eve in 1993. Prosecutors said the women led two men into an ambush. Court records say the robbery netted between $11 and $200.