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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 1 March 2021

Trump pardons Lil Wayne, Kodak Black and more on final day in office

President Trump has granted pardons to 73 individuals and commuted the sentences of an additional 70

Rapper Lil Wayne faced up to 10 years in prison for carrying a loaded firearm. Reuters
Rapper Lil Wayne faced up to 10 years in prison for carrying a loaded firearm. Reuters

Rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black are among notable figures that outgoing President Trump has pardoned on his final day in office, it was announced on Wednesday. Death Row Records co-founder Michael "Harry-O" Harris, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and the president's former chief strategist Steve Bannon were also offered clemency.

Lil Wayne, 38, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter, had yet to be sentenced after he plead guilty in December to carrying a loaded firearm on a private jet bound for Florida. The Something Different rapper has been previously prohibited from owning guns, and was charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. He was facing up to 10 years in prison.

In the statement from the White House announcing the pardons, Brett Berish, chief executive of Sovereign Brands, who supported Carter's clemency, described the star as "trustworthy, kind-hearted and generous". US athlete and football coach Deion Sanders, who also wrote in his support, called him "a provider for his family, a friend to many, a man of faith, a natural giver to the less fortunate, a waymaker, [and] a game changer".

The rapper had sparked controversy when he tweeted his support for President Trump before the November election. He wrote: "Just had a great meeting with @realdonaldtrump", alongside a photo of the two of them together.

Bill K Kapri, 23, also known as Kodak Black, is also on the list. He had pleaded guilty to weapons charges in May 2019 and admitted to lying about his criminal history while acquiring firearms. Other charges against the rapper have reportedly involved kidnapping, drug possession and sexual assault.

In November 2019, the South Florida rapper was sentenced to three years and 10 months on weapons charges. At the time, the Miami federal judge told Kapri: "Young people do stupid things and I normally give them a break for that. The problem is that you have been doing stupid things since 15."

2017 MTV Video Music Awards – Arrivals – Inglewood, California, U.S., 27/08/2017 - Rapper Kodak Black. Picture taken August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Rapper Kodak Black at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. Reuters

Kapri's dedication to charity and other philanthropic efforts were cited as a reason for pardon, a move that was supported by a number of religious figures and other artists.

Meanwhile, "Harry-O" Harris, whose clemency rapper Snoop Dogg had reportedly been rallying for, had served 30 years of a 25-to-life sentence for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

"Mr Harris has had an exemplary prison record for three decades," reads the White House statement. "He is a former entrepreneur and has mentored and taught fellow prisoners how to start and run businesses."

It is not uncommon for outgoing presidents to issue pardons and commutations in their final days of office.

On the day before the end of his term, former president Barack Obama offered clemency to 330 prisoners serving time for drug offences.

Former president Bill Clinton also pardoned more than 100 people on his last day, most infamously, his brother, Roger Clinton, and fugitive financier and multimillionaire trade commodities broker Marc Rich.

Updated: January 20, 2021 02:48 PM

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