Trump Pardons Lil Wayne, Kodak Black and Kwame Kilpatrick on Final Night in White House
During his final full day in the White House, President Donald Trump granted a combination of pardons and clemency to 143 people, including former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon, rappers Kodak Black and Lil Wayne and former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
Since October 2013, Kilpatrick has been serving a 28-year prison sentence on corruption charges. He fired off a letter to Trump in 2018 seeking clemency.
Lil Wayne and Kodak Black received pardons after pleading guilty (in separate cases) to a weapons charge. Black, real name Bill Kahan Kapri, has been serving a three-year prison term after pleading guilty in 2019.
Here’s a breakdown from The Daily Beast of other names included on Trump’s pardon list:
Death Row Records co-founder Michael “Harry-O” Harris
Michael “Harry-O” Harris served about three decades after his 1988 conviction for attempted murder during a kidnapping. In 1992, from behind bars, Harris granted $1.5 million in seed money to Suge Knight to start the iconic record label, which went on to feature iconic rappers such as Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur, and Snoop Dogg. Snoop launched a lobbying bid to grant Harris clemency in the president’s final days in office, The Daily Beast reported on Monday. Harris had sought to be released from prison earlier this year, citing his autoimmune disorder as a possible risk factor for COVID-19, but that request was declined.
Former New York Observer editor and accused stalker Ken Kurson
Ken Kurson, the former editor of The New York Observer and friend of Jared Kushner, was arrested last fall for what prosecutors described as a “pattern of stalking and harassment against three victims.” Authorities became aware of Kurson’s alleged crimes in 2018 while he was undergoing an FBI background check for an unpaid advisory role in the Trump administration that The Daily Beast first revealed.
Former California Rep. Randall “Duke” Cunningham
Randy “Duke” Cunningham left Congress in 2005 as a disgraced felon after pleading guilty to a slew of charges, including tax evasion, mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit bribery. He served seven years behind bars for accepting at least $2.4 million in bribes, at one point reportedly even using a “bribe menu” showing the exact sums he would require to deliver a contract.
Robert “Bob” Zangrillo, charged in the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal
Robert “Bob” Zangrillo is a Miami real estate developer charged in the Operation Varsity Blues college admissions scandal. He allegedly conspired to bribe college coaches at the University of Southern California to admit unqualified students via athletics programs. His trial was set for September 2021.
Paul Erickson, ex-boyfriend of Russian agent Maria Butina
Paul Erickson is perhaps best known for helping Maria Butina worm her way into the Republican Party, but that is not what landed him in jail. Erickson was convicted of defrauding oil investors in July 2020 and sentenced to seven years in prison. Butina herself was deported in the fall of 2020 for failing to register as a foreign agent. By granting clemency to Erickson, Trump lashed out one last time at Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference, writing, “This pardon helps right the wrongs of what has been revealed to be perhaps the greatest witch hunt in American History.”
Former Google and Uber Engineer Anthony Levandowski
Anthony Levandowski, the former Uber executive convicted of stealing trade secrets from Google’s self-driving car subsidiary Waymo, received a full pardon from Trump. He was fined hundreds of thousands of dollars and sentenced to 18 months in prison but had not begun serving it out yet. The pardon, according to a statement from the White House, was supported by right-wing tech entrepreneurs and Trump donors Palmer Luckey and Peter Thiel.