Outgoing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is leaving office trailed by controversy about pardons — issued over the course of his two terms in office — to eight convicted killers who worked in the governor’s mansion as “trusties.”

Barbour, a major player in national Republican circles who last year briefly flirted with a presidential run, is returning to lobbying work after serving eight years as Mississippi’s chief executive. Fellow Republican Phil Bryant, who served as lieutenant governor, is being sworn in as governor today.

This week, the Associated Press reported that Barbour pardoned four convicted killers, including a man who had been denied parole a few days earlier. According to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Barbour during his two terms in office has pardoned a total of eight convicted killers, seven of whom were convicted of murder and one who was convicted of manslaughter.

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