Johnny Trinh, who was punched in the face by a then-16-year-old Wahlberg while trying to escape a failed robbery, spoke with The Daily Mail about the assault and said despite the rumors (and what Wahlberg himself actually thought), the now-successful actor/director/producer did not blind him — that happened while fighting Communists in the Vietnam War.
"I was not blinded by Mark Wahlberg," Trinh explained. "He did hurt me, but my left eye was already gone. He was not responsible for that."
When told Wahlberg is seeking a legal pardon for his crime, Trinh agreed he should get one.
"He was young and reckless but I forgive him now. Everyone deserves another chance," he said. "I would like to see him get a pardon. He should not have the crime hanging over him any longer.
"He paid for his crime when he went to prison. I am not saying that it did not hurt when he punched me in the face, but it was a long time ago. He has grown up now. I am sure he has his own family and is a responsible man… It is only right that he get the pardon. It was over 25 years ago and that is a lot of time."
Trinh, who works in a clothing store printing logos on T-shirts for $9 an hour, said he had no idea his assailant became a celebrity, has never heard of Wahlberg and has never listened to his music or seen any of his movies.
Wahlberg asserts that he has no motivation in seeking the pardon other than to prove he has turned his life around.
"Everyone has an opinion and has a reason why they think I'm doing it," he told press at the New York premiere of his movie The Gambler. "I've been working very hard to correct a lot of mistakes that I made since the day that I woke up and realized, 'You know what? I need to be a leader instead of a follower.'"
Wahlberg has filed a formal request for pardon and is awaiting a decision by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.
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