ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — After five Super Bowl wins, Edward DeBartolo Jr. stepped down as owner of the San Francisco 49ers.
The Associated Press reported in 1997 he was going to be indicted for gambling fraud, and he pleaded guilty to failing to report a felony. DeBartolo paid $400,000 to former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards in exchange for a riverboat gambling license.
According to AP, he avoided prison and paid a $1,000,000 fine – but his NFL career was effectively over.
Now, his conviction is going away.
President Donald Trump pardoned DeBartolo and made the announcement Tuesday at the White House alongside NFL greats Jerry Rice, Jim Brown, Ronnie Lott and Charles Haley.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, who is married to one of DeBartolo's daughters, also was in attendance. Trump tweeted photos of the ceremony.
The sheriff's office said Chronister was at the White House in support of his family.
"The Sheriff was in attendance at the White House to support his wife and family. It was a personal matter, unrelated to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office," spokeswoman Crystal Clark said.
“You know what, we all make mistakes and today the president cleared that mistake from him,” Haley said after the announcement. The Hall of Fame defensive end played on two of DeBartolo’s Super Bowl-winning teams.
“So today is a great day for him. I’m glad to be here and be a part of that. It’s just something I will never forget," Rice said.
DeBartolo has strong ties to Tampa Bay.
According to Forbes, he runs a property development firm and owns shares in Simon Property Group, which owns the Tampa Premium Outlets and Tyrone Square.
The Tampa Bay Business Journal reported in 2016, those business connections made him the richest person in Tampa. Forbes puts his net worth at around $2.6B.
Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School in Tampa is named after him and Buccaneers hall-of-famer Derrick Brooks.
What other people are reading right now:
- Ryan Newman injuries 'not life threatening' after Daytona 500 crash
- Taylor Swift’s dad fights with burglar in his St. Pete townhouse
- It's been 90 years since Pluto was discovered. People still debate if it's a planet
- Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy protection amid sex abuse lawsuits
- Nurse treating NICU baby cared for child's father decades before
- Carla Stefaniak's killer sentenced to 16 years in prison