President Joe Biden is caught in a sticky situation as calls grow louder for him to pardon U.S. Navy lieutenant Ridge Alkons. Alkons has been facing charges of negligent driving in connection to a fatal car crash that led to the deaths of two Japanese nationals while he was stationed in Japan.
Biden under pressure to pardon Navy lieutenant imprisoned for negligent driving in Japan https://t.co/dqMHSPUOMa
— Cindy Leahy (@CindyLeahy21206) January 1, 2024
What a conundrum for Biden! Alkons, who was serving as a weapons officer on the USS Benfold at the Yokosuka Naval Base, blacked out while driving back from a family trip to Mount Fuji with his wife and three children, ultimately colliding with parked cars outside a restaurant and tragically causing the deaths of two Japanese citizens. Yikes!
Surprisingly, Alkons didn’t have any alcohol or drugs in his system, and his Navy record was squeaky clean. He claimed that the crash was due to a sudden bout of altitude sickness. However, Japan, a key ally of the United States, slapped him with a three-year prison sentence in September 2022. What a tough break!
But here’s where things get even stickier for Biden. Despite forking over nearly $2 million in damages to the victims’ families and impassioned pleas from his own wife and sympathetic lawmakers, Alkons remains imprisoned in California. The pressure is on for Biden to either pardon him or shorten his sentence.
Even the Wall Street Journal is chiming in, publishing a compelling op-ed on December 29 urging Biden to set Alkons free. They argue that his case has broader implications for the rights of U.S. service members abroad and could serve as a message to others in similar predicaments. What a sticky web we weave!
Republican Rep. Michael Waltz, a former U.S. Green Beret, has been leading the charge on Capitol Hill to secure Alkons’s release. He’s even taken his plea to Fox News, where he underscored the injustices that Alkons faced in Japanese prison and called on Biden and the Department of Justice to use their authority to bring him back home.