Trump Pardons 73, Commutes Sentences Of 70 Others

President Donald Trump issued 73 pardons and 70 commutations in the final hours of his presidency.

Those who benefited from a long-standing presidential tradition of exercising clemency powers included Trump’s former political strategist and adviser Steve Bannon, who is facing fraud charges.

Bannon was charged in August 2020 with fraud over a fundraising campaign to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. He has pleaded not guilty to charges. In a press release issued on Wednesday, the White House says “Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen”.

Other controversial names in the list of pardoned included Elliott Broidy, a former top fundraiser for Trump’s campaign, and rapper Lil Wayne, who expressed support for Trump’s campaign, and Anthony Levandowski, who led Google’s efforts to create self-driving technology.

The former Google engineer who admitted stealing secret technology, received a full pardon from an 18 month sentence. The White House noted that Levandowski’s sentencing judge called him a “brilliant, groundbreaking engineer that our country needs.”

Multiple Grammy laureate Lil Wayne, also known as Dwayne Carter, pleaded guilty to illegal gun possession, and was facing up to 10 years in jail.

Trump granted commutations for rapper Kodak Black and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Kodak Black, whose original name is Bill K. Kapri, was arrested several times and faced gun, drug and sexual misconduct charges. But a White House press release only says he was sentenced to 46 months in prison “for making a false statement on a Federal document”.

Kilpatrick has served approximately 7 years in prison for his role in a racketeering and bribery scheme while he held public office. The White House said his commutation was “strongly supported by prominent members of the Detroit community”.

A pardon cancels a criminal conviction, while a commutation shortens or ends a prison sentence.

Grants of Clemency was the last executive action taken by Donald Trump during his presidency.

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