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Huckabee prepares pardon papers for rocker Keith Richards
Thursday, Jul 20, 2006

Arkansas News Bureau

LITTLE ROCK - Call it a goodwill gesture from one musician to another.

The state parole board has unanimously recommended that Rolling Stones lead guitarist Keith Richard be pardoned for a 1975 misdemeanor reckless driving conviction in Fordyce based on a request prepared by Gov. Mike Huckabee and his chief counsel, Milton Fine.

Huckabee, bass player for his group Capitol Offense, has the final say on granting executive clemency.

Huckabee spokesman Alice Stewart said Wednesday that Huckabee took it upon himself to initiate the process after talking to Richards.

"He doesn't say when or where, but he did say that he and Keith Richards had a conversation about it," Stewart said. "When he realized Keith had a marred impression of the state based on a traffic ticket he received 31 years ago, the governor wanted to do what he could to correct it."

Huckabee said "of course" he was a fan Richards' music.

"Every musician in the world recognizes his talent," the governor said, adding that he "wanted to clear (Richards') record in Arkansas as a goodwill gesture."

Richards was behind the wheel as the famed rock band traveled country roads on a trip from Memphis to Dallas in July 1975 when he was ticketed in Fordyce. He pleaded guilty to a reckless driving charge and paid a $162 fine.

The pardon application prepared for Richards was notarized June 12, three months after the Stones performed in concert before 15,000 fans at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock.

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