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Late on Tuesday, the president granted 73 pardons and commuted the sentences for 70 other individuals. Pardons were given to Trump’s political allies including his former campaign manager Steve Bannon and Elliott Broidy, the former deputy national finance chair of the Republican National Committee.
Other notable people receiving pardons included current Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez, who had a conviction for conspiracy to distribute narcotics from the early ’90s. Ken Kurson, an associate of Jared Kushner and Rudy Giuliani and the former editor-in-chief of the New York Observer who was convicted of cyberstalking and harassment, also received a pardon, as did Hillel ‘Helly’ Nahmad, the billionaire New York art dealer who was convicted of running an illegal gambling operation out of his Trump Tower apartment. The Nahmad gambling operation was featured in the film Molly’s Game.
Commuted sentences were given to former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was serving a 28-year sentence for mail fraud, wire fraud and racketeering; Death Row Records co-founder Michael Harris, who was serving prison time for drug-trafficking and murder charges; and Robert Zangrillo, who was charged as part of the 2019 college admissions and bribery scandal.
Trump’s personal lawyer Giuliani, Wikileaks’ Julian Assange and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden were not on the pardon and clemency list released by the White House. Joe Exotic, the subject of the Netflix doc Tiger King, also didn’t make the list despite media speculation.
The president also did not pardon himself or members of his family.
Lil Wayne, born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., pleaded guilty in December to illegally possessing a loaded weapon on a private jet while traveling to Miami. Carter is a convicted felon, stemming from a gun charge in 2007, which meant he was looking at 10 years in prison when sentenced on Jan. 28.
Carter’s pardon was hardly surprising after the Grammy-winning artist inexplicably endorsed Trump for reelection last October and posed for a picture, for which he was heavily criticized on social media.
“Just had a great meeting with @realdonaldtrump @potus besides what he’s done so far with criminal reform, the platinum plan is going to give the community real ownership. He listened to what we had to say today and assured he will and can get it done,” Carter wrote in a Twitter message that included the picture.
On Dec. 23, 2019, an anonymous tip led Miami police officers and federal agents to search Carter’s jet, where they found the loaded gun, reportedly in addition to cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, heroin, pain killers and prescription-strength cough syrup, along with nearly $26,000 in cash. Carter was not charged with any drug offenses.
Trump commuted the sentence of Kodak Black, born Bill Kahan Kapri. The rapper was serving time in federal prison after pleading guilty to a firearms possession charge after being detained at the Canadian-American border in March 2020.
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