Former White House adviser Steve Bannon headlines a group of 73 people pardoned by outgoing President Donald Trump in his final hours in office.
“President Trump granted a full pardon to Stephen Bannon,” the White House announced in a statement early Wednesday.
“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 statement said.
The list included many individuals serving long sentences for low-level crimes, as well as some notable names including rapper Lil Wayne.
In addition to the 73 people pardoned, Trump commuted the sentences of 70 individuals.
THE PARDONS ARE IN. Steve Bannon gets one. So does Elliott Broidy. So does Lil Wayne and Kwame Kirkpatrick. Full list of clemency is 143. More details to come. Snowden, Assange and Giuliani are not on the list. No family members on list either.
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) January 20, 2021
Bannon had been one of Trump’s closest advisers in the 2016 presidential campaign, and then transitioned to a White House role after Trump took office. But Bannon only lasted a few months in the White House.
Although Bannon and Trump traded jabs at each other in the aftermath of Bannon’s departure from the administration, Bannon supported Trump’s 2020 campaign, according to Fox News.
Bannon had been facing charges of fraud in connection with the “We Build the Wall” fundraising campaign. He pleaded not guilty to those charges, CNN reported.
Citing unnamed sources, The Washington Post indicated that Trump had moments of indecision regarding Bannon’s pardon.
The New York Times framed Bannon’s pardon as the end result of a process in which Trump was urged by Bannon’s foes not to do so, while Bannon’s supporters pressured Trump to pardon him.
The Times, citing sources it did not name, said that Trump and Bannon spoke in the hours before Trump issued Bannon’s pardon.
In its reporting on the pardons, CNN, also citing unnamed sources, said that Ivanka Trump, the outgoing president’s daughter, and her husband, Jared Kushner, were both prime movers in getting him to pardon many of the individuals on the list.
In pardoning Lil Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., the White House statement noted that he “pled guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, owing to a conviction over 10 years ago.”
“Brett Berish of Sovereign Brands, who supports a pardon for Mr. Carter, describes him as ‘trustworthy, kind-hearted and generous,'” the statement said.
“Mr. Carter has exhibited this generosity through commitment to a variety of charities, including donations to research hospitals and a host of food banks. 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.'”
Others pardoned included Paul Erickson, a conservative political figure; former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick; professional sports gambler William Walters; Aviem Sella, a former Israeli air force officer accused of espionage; and former GOP Rep. Rick Renzi of Arizona.
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