Outgoing President Trump pardons former adviser, Lil Wayne, 71 others


In the final hours of his presidency, Donald Trump has pardoned 73 people, including his former adviser Steve Bannon, who is awaiting trial in Manhattan on fraud charges tied to a border wall fundraising effort.

While another 70 people had their sentences commuted, the pardon is unusual because Bannon has yet to stand trial. But it has a familiar ring for Trump because he granted it to a longtime ally who got into trouble with the law.

Rapper Lil Wayne received a pardon and there were commutations for rapper Kodak Black and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

The president has not issued preemptive pardons for himself or family members.

He can still issue more pardons on Wednesday morning, as he remains president until Biden takes the oath of office outside the US Capitol.

A statement from the White House listed the 73 individuals who had received pardons and the 70 who had their sentences commuted.

Although many on the list are conventional examples of convicts whose cases have been championed by rights activists and supporters in the community, others maintain the president’s trend of focusing on allies.

A full pardon was also issued to Elliott Broidy, a Republican fundraiser who admitted accepting funds to lobby  Trump for Chinese and Malaysian interests. The White House cited his “philanthropic efforts”.

Ken Kurson, a friend of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner charged with cyberstalking during a divorce, was pardoned.

Lil Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Carter, pleaded guilty to a federal weapons charge last year and has been pardoned. He posted a photo of himself with Trump during the election campaign praising the president’s work on criminal reform.

As the list of pardons became clear, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff said: “Thank God we have only 12 more hours of this den of thieves.”

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Other key recipients were:

Kodak Black, real name Bill K Kapri, who was also charged with firearms offences, had his sentence of three years and 10 months commuted. The White House statement praised his philanthropic work

Michael ‘Harry O’ Harris – co-founder of Death Row Records, who served 32 years for attempted murder and cocaine trafficking and whose case was championed by rapper Snoop Dogg. He was pardoned.

Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced in 2013 to 28 years in prison on charges of racketeering, bribery and extortion in relation to his period as Detroit mayor from 2002 to 2008. His sentence was commuted – the White House said this was “strongly supported by prominent members of the Detroit community”

Anthony Levandowski received a full pardon from an 18-month sentence. He is a former Google engineer who admitted stealing secret technology related to the company’s self-driving cars. The pardon says he had “paid a significant price for his actions and plans to devote his talents to advance the public good”