UPDATE: The White House has now released the full list of those who will be grant clemency in a press statement.
We knew Donald Trump would not leave the White House quietly. In fact, one of his most polarising acts as President would occur on the eve of Inauguration Day when Joe Biden would take the helm of the United States. Mere hours before he is set to travel to Florida, Trump is releasing a list of people that will be pardoned of their crimes.
White-collar criminals, celebrities and criminal justice cases are among 150 people grant clemency by the 45th President. Most notably, Julian Assange, Lil Wayne and Edward Snowden are rumored. Joe Exotic’s lawyer’s were so confident of his release, a limo is parked outside the prison awaiting his departure.
Trump will not pardon himself, nor his family, according to reports as he has been warned it will make him look guilty.
This is the stretch Limo standing by at #JoeExotic Fort Worth Lawyers office. I’m told they’re waiting on a call from the White House confirming the presidential pardon before heading to pick him up at the prison. @CBSDFW pic.twitter.com/1tJzQHefxD
— Ken Molestina (@cbs11ken) January 19, 2021
So, who made the cut? Below we’ll confirm if the rumors are true.
Michael “Harry O” Harris – Pardoned
The New York Post revealed on Tuesday that Death Row Records founder Michael “Harry O” Harris would have his prison sentence for attempted murder and cocaine trafficking commuted. It comes after rapper Snoop Dogg fiercely lobbied at the White House on behalf on Harris. As for the most prolific celebrity criminals rumoured to be pardoned, this is what you need to know.
Joseph Maldonado-Passage aka ‘Joe Exotic’ – Excluded from pardon
Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, found worldwide fame following the release of Netflix Documentary Tiger King in early 2020. He is currently serving a 22-year sentence after being found guilty for a murder-for-hire plot as well as violating wildlife laws. His appearance on the streaming platform has inspired a slew of fashion trends and even halloween costumes from the likes of Kim Kardashian.
Julian Assange – Excluded from pardon
He is perhaps the most infamous name in Australia. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is currently in the UK, fighting extradition to the US where he is wanted for espionage charges which carry a maximum of 175 years in prison. Doubts fell on the pardon however, as Donald Trump may not want to anger the Republican senate who have advised against releasing Assange, in the lead up to his impeachment trial.
Assange is wanted in relation to the 2010 “publication of secret diplomatic cables and files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq including a US military video showing an Apache attack helicopter killing civilians,” according to News.com.au.
dwayne carter aka ‘Lil Wayne’ – Pardoned
Lil Wayne who’s real name is Dwayne Carter is a strong supporter of Donald Trump. Last year he plead guilty to possessing a gold-plated handgun while travelling to Florida in a private jet in 2019. This was illegal due to a prior conviction. He was also found to be in possession of cocaine, ecstasy and oxycodone
kodak black – commutation
Rapper Kodak Black will be freed from prison after serving over a year in jail for falsifying information on federal forms to buy four firearms from a Miami gun shop twice, according to Reuters. He was originally supposed to serve out 46 months behind bars for the crime.
Earlier this month, Lil Yachty asked Trump to commute Black’s prison sentence. “Hey @realDonaldTrump. My friend @KodakBlack1k deserves to be commuted,” he tweeted on Jan. 4. “The system punished him way too hard for a paperwork crime. #FreeKodak.”
Steve Bannon – pardoned
Donald Trump’s former advisor Steve Bannon was ousted from the White House in 2017. He was charged in 2020 fraud of donors in a crowd-funding campaign with funds believe to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. He plead not-guilty to wire fraud and money laundering and was released on a $5 million USD bond ahead of the trial in May, 2021.
Edward Snowden – excluded from pardon
Edward Snowden, a mass surveillance whistleblower has been holed up in Russia after leaking documents on the National Security Agency’s highly secretive spying programs. Again, a pardon for Edward Snowden would be controversial for the Republican senate who have the power to acquit Trump of his second impeachment.
Donald Trump’s fleeting days in office were also used to pardon some of his closest and controversial allies. Among them include former campaign chairman Paul Manafort who was sentenced to seven years in jail, convicted of money laundering and tax evasion. Roger Stone received commutation on his sentence, charged with lying to congress and former national security Adviser Mike Flynn, who was charged with lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 transition.
Trump has wished the new administration luck in a speech but made clear warning: “I want you to know that the movement we started is only just beginning. There’s never been anything like it.”