Bella Rosenberg says former President Clinton needed no financial or familial coaxing to free her daughter, a communist terrorist, from prison.
“He decided the case on its merits,” Rosenberg said in a phone interview from her Manhattan apartment.
As part of his 11th-hour pardon-palooza, Clinton commuted former Weather Underground member Susan Rosenberg’s 58-year weapons-possession sentence after she served just 16 years.
Bella Rosenberg, who says she didn’t support Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign, says she thinks Clinton based his 35 other commutations, along with his 140 pardons, on the merits, as well, and wasn’t influenced
by political donations.
She says congressional investigations into possible influence peddling is just part of an ongoing campaign by Republicans to target Clinton.
“This is ridiculous,” she said. “This whole pardon thing is all part of this ongoing campaign to do whatever it is they’re trying to do to Clinton with all these investigations.”
Rosenberg admitted, however, that Clinton’s pardon of wealthy fugitive Marc Rich was “not right.” Rich’s New Yorker ex-wife gave more than a million dollars in gifts and political donations to the Clintons.
Rosenberg says she did not give any money to Hillary Clinton’s New York race and did not support her as a candidate.
Federal Election Commission records show no contributions from Rosenberg.
“I’m just a voter. I’m not anybody who’s an activist in politics at all,” she said. “And I wasn’t supporting anybody in this particular race.”
She says she and her late husband, Emmanuel Rosenberg, a long-time Manhattan dentist, never contributed to Clinton’s presidential races or the Clinton library foundation.
“We never contribute to political campaigns,” she said.
“I’m a widow on a fixed income,” she added, “and I’m having a hard time meeting my own needs here.”
She says she lobbied for her daughter’s release through her rabbi, who contacted Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-Manhattan, giving him information from Susan Rosenberg’s parole hearings that purportedly showed her to be a model prisoner.
Nadler, in turn, passed the materials on to the White House.
“I’m not even sure who brought what to whom,” Rosenberg’s mother said.
J. Rolando Matalon, rabbi of the Upper West Side Manhattan Temple B’nai Jeshurun, “has been our rabbi for all these years,” she said, and he intervened on the family’s behalf.
Nadler, who campaigned hard for Hillary Clinton, claims he took no position on a pardon — which was opposed by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White.
The parole board ruled in 1998 that Susan Rosenberg would have to serve at least another 15 years in a Connecticut prison — after federal prosecutors wrote the board that they still believed she participated in the deadly 1981 Brink’s robbery in Nyack, N.Y., and other crimes.
Rosenberg was charged with driving the getaway car in the $1.6 million holdup, but was never convicted.
Leftist radicals gunned down two security guards and two police officers in the brutal heist. Three of the victims died.
Rosenberg was a fugitive when the trial took place.
But in 1984, police arrested her for carrying 740 pounds of dynamite and other weapons for the Weather Underground, a Marxist-Leninist terrorist group. She was convicted in 1985 and was slapped with a stiff sentence.
Rosenberg has maintained her innocence in the robbery, and has argued that her sentence for the weapons conviction was unfairly severe.
On Dec. 17 — about a month before Clinton pardoned her — she appeared on CBS’ “60 Minutes” to tell her side to Morley Safer. The segment proclaimed: “Susan Rosenberg believes she is being kept in prison for a crime she was never tried for.”
As recently as 1990, Rosenberg was reportedly still referring to her fellow radicals in the Weather Underground and in the May 19 Communist Organization (Ho Chi Minh’s birthday was May 19) as “comrades.”
And she was still signing her letters “Venceremos, Susan Rosenberg” — the old slogan of the Cuban revolution, meaning “we shall overcome.”
The May 19 Communist Organization advocates the overthrow of “U.S. imperialism” to achieve “proletarian internationalism.”
The 45-year-old Susan Rosenberg, who now lives with her elderly mother in Manhattan, would speak only through her Washington lawyer.