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Ex-Morgan Stanley Exec Calls for Milken Pardon

August 31, 2017

A former managing director at Morgan Stanley is urging president Donald Trump to pardon junk bond pioneer Michael Milken, Bloomberg writes.

David Bahnsen tells Trump in a letter that Milken’s prosecution, which resulted in a 22-month prison sentence, “led to some of the most egregious prosecutorial abuses in American history.”

Milken, who pioneered high-yield bonds in the 1980s, pled guilty in 1990 to securities fraud, Bloomberg writes. He has for many years now been a well-known philanthropist and chairman of the Milken Institute, which hosts the influential annual Milken Institute Global Conference, according to the newswire.

“Michael Milken was targeted, arrested, prosecuted, and eventually imprisoned, because our society went through a period of class envy run amok,” Bahnsen writes. “However, the shockingly high income Michael Milken generated in the 1980’s, high enough then to ensure public sympathy for his prosecution, now looks much less relevant in the aftermath of two decades of hedge fund compensation that has trumped several times over what Mr. Milken ever generated.”

Michael Milken (Getty)

Bahnsen also writes that high-yield bonds have proven to be effective at pricing risk and reward, providing credit to companies that can’t find it elsewhere and serving credit investors looking for income and growth. Therefore, he writes, “history has vindicated” Milken. Bahnsen also said that he revised an earlier plea after last week’s pardon of formerMaricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Bahnsen has been registered with HighTower Advisors since 2015 after a seven-year stint at Morgan Stanley, according to his BrokerCheck profile. His firm, Bahnsen Group, manages more than $1 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Should the president pardon Michael Milken? Tell us your reasons why or why not in the comments section below.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the Bloomberg article cited in this story, click here.