In Focus

Who did Donald Trump pardon on his last day in the White House?

Rappers, financiers and former adviser Steve Bannon among dozens of people granted clemency

Donald Trump has used the final hours of his presidency to pardon 73 people and commute the sentences of 70 more.

The outgoing US president has not issued pre-emptive pardons for himself or family, however, after being warned that the move would place him in a “legally perilous position” and “convey the appearance of guilt”, CNN reports.

So just who was granted clemency as Trump prepared to leave the White House?

Steve Bannon

Bannon was a key strategist and adviser to Trump during the 2016 presidential election campaign, but came a cropper over a fundraising spree to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. The influential aid was charged with fraud last summer and is awaiting trial, so his pardoning was a “pre-emptive move that would effectively wipe away the charges against him, should he be convicted”, says The New York Times.

Kwame Kilpatrick

The former Detroit mayor is serving a 28-year prison term for his role in a wide-ranging racketeering conspiracy that included extortion, bribery, and fraud during his reign in office, from 2002 to 2008. The White House said in a statement that the commuting of the sentence, handed down in 2013, is “strongly supported by prominent members of the Detroit community”.

Kilpatrick had lost a series of appeals after being convicted on 24 federal felony counts. “The US Supreme Court refused to hear his case,” the Detroit Free Press reports. A request for a commutation from then president Barack Obama was also denied. But “in the end, it was Trump who came through for Kilpatrick, exercising his executive power to grant him freedom”, says the paper.

Anthony Levandowski

After granting him a full pardon, the White House said that the former Google engineer had “paid a significant price for his actions and plans to devote his talents to advance the public good”. Levandowski was serving an 18-month sentence handed down last August, after he admitted stealing trade secrets about the web giant’s self-driving cars.

Lil Wayne

The hip-hop star, real name Dwayne Michael Carter Jr, pleaded guilty in December to federal weapons charges and was facing up to ten years in prison before Trump came to the rescue.

The rapper had endorsed the Republican leader ahead of the November election, posting a photo of them together on Twitter, and has backed Trump on criminal reform.

Elliott Broidy

The former Republican Party fundraiser was facing up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to having accepted funds to lobby Trump for Chinese and Malaysian interests. Granting Broidy a full pardon, the White House pointed to his “numerous philanthropic efforts”.

Kodak Black

The rapper, real name Bill Kapri, was serving a 46-month jail term handed down in March last year for firearms offences committed while he was out on bond for sexual assault charges.

But his sentence has now been commuted, with the White House arguing that like Broidy, Black has earned freedom through his “numerous philanthropic efforts”.


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