20th January, 2021
Snoop Dogg’s friend Michael Harris and rapper Lil Wayne were among the 73 individuals pardoned by outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump, in his last act of clemency.
Trump, according to a White House statement also commuted the sentences of an additional 70 people.
Harris was Death Row Records’ co-founder, jailed for attempted murder and cocaine trafficking. He was scheduled to be released from a California jail in 2028.
In the White House statement, Trump indicated why Harris sentence was commuted:
Mr. Harris is a 59 year old who has served 30 years of a 25 year to life sentence for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Mr. Harris has had an exemplary prison record for three decades.
“He is a former entrepreneur and has mentored and taught fellow prisoners how to start and run businesses. He has completed courses towards business and journalism degrees.
“Upon his release, Mr. Harris will have a meaningful place of employment and housing with the support of his family.”
Snoop Dogg was reported to have lobbied Trump through first daughter Ivanka to get Harris released.
Also pardoned Tuesday night was rapper Lil Wayne, full name Dwayne Michael Carter Jr.
Trump granted him full pardon. Mr. Carter had pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, owing to a conviction over 10 years ago.
According to the pardon statement: “Brett Berish of Sovereign Brands, who supports a pardon for Mr. Carter, describes him as “trustworthy, kind-hearted and generous.”
“Mr. Carter has exhibited this generosity through commitment to a variety of charities, including donations to research hospitals and a host of foodbanks. Deion Sanders, who also wrote in support of this pardon, calls Mr. Wayne “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.”
Also on the pardon list is a former Google engineer sentenced for stealing a trade secret on self-driving cars months before he briefly headed Uber Technologies Inc’s rival unit.
Anthony Levandowski, 40, was sentenced in August to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty in March. He was not in custody but a judge had said he could enter custody once the COVID-19 pandemic subsided.
The White House said Levandowski was “an American entrepreneur who led Google’s efforts to create self-driving technology.”
The statement added he had “paid a significant price for his actions and plans to devote his talents to advance the public good.” Alphabet Inc’s Google did not immediately comment.
Levandowski transferred more than 14,000 Google files, including development schedules and product designs, to his personal laptop before he left, and while negotiating a deal with Uber, where he briefly led its self-driving car unit.
The former mayor of Detroit, Kwame Malik Kilpatrick also has his prison term commuted.
Mr. Kilpatrick has served approximately 7 years in prison for his role in a racketeering and bribery scheme while he held public office.
“This commutation is strongly supported by prominent members of the Detroit community, Alveda King, Alice Johnson, Diamond and Silk, Pastor Paula White, Peter Karmanos, Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo of the Michigan House of Representatives, Representative Karen Whitsett of the Michigan House of Representatives, and more than 30 faith leaders.
“During his incarceration, Mr. Kilpatrick has taught public speaking classes and has led Bible Study groups with his fellow inmates”, the statement said.
Among the beneficiaries of the clemency is also Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s friend.
He was granted full pardon.
“Prosecutors pursued Mr. Bannon with charges related to fraud stemming from his involvement in a political project. Mr. Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen”, the pardon statement said.
Read the full list of pardons here