David Bahnsen, who manages more than $2 billion, was enjoying a lunch of Dover sole at Michael’s in Midtown Manhattan on Tuesday when he got the news.

A text from a friend in Donald Trump’s administration told him the president was pardoning Michael Milken almost exactly 30 years after the junk-bond king pleaded guilty to securities fraud.

Bahnsen shared the news with his lunch date, high-fived him, explained what was happening to the Wall Street figure at the next table, and slapped his palm, too.

“There isn’t anybody in finance who doesn’t believe that this is the right thing to do,” the executive, who runs wealth management firm Bahnsen Group, said in a phone call. “It was always inevitable.”

Bahnsen is a member of a club of well-connected executives, powerful investors and multibillionaires who wanted the White House to take mercy on Milken.

Supporters include casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Apollo Global Management Inc. co-founder Josh Harris, Vornado Realty Trust boss Steven Roth and Carlyle Group Inc.’s David Rubenstein, according to a White House announcement that also cited Bahnsen. He wrote a plea to Trump in 2017 that chalked up Milken’s conviction to “a period of class envy run amok.”

Milken’s rise behind an X-shaped desk in Beverly Hills was so sharp that it fueled the buyout boom and the reign of junk bonds, though his colleagues inside Drexel Burnham Lambert preferred the term high yield. His fall, culminating in 22 months in prison for illegal trades, was so steep that it helped turn him into a symbol for the avarice of an entire industry and era.

The 73-year-old billionaire’s rescue by Trump was so astounding that Wall Street observers wondered if he would try to return to the securities industry that banned him for life.

“Today, that is the farthest thing from his mind,” a spokesman for Milken wrote in an email. “He’s fully dedicated to continuing his lifelong crusade to cure cancer and other life-threatening diseases.” Another statement added that Milken was “very grateful to the president.”

Around the time that Trump was trying to transform himself into a king of 1980s New York real estate, Milken was helping to turn junk bonds from a backwater of risky corporate debt into a trillion-dollar market. Those bonds let a ragtag group of corporate raiders borrow enough to take over some of America’s best-known companies, and Milken inspired Wall Street acolytes who stayed loyal well past Drexel’s bankruptcy -- and his tearful apology in court for securities fraud.

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