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Trump Pardons 73, Commutes 70 Sentences

Donald Trump
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

President Trump pardoned Steve Bannon, a couple of high-profile South Florida rappers and a jailed Florida eye doctor…not Julian Assange.

Reportedly, Trump was warned that if he pardoned Assange, who spilled the tea on Washington insiders, he would be convicted in the Senate impeachment trial.

Trump did pardon former top Trump adviser Steve Bannon, accused of fraudulently raising money to build a border wall. Trump commuted Broward rapper Kodak Black’s sentence and pardoned Lil Wayne, who pleaded guilty to a federal weapons charge. Wayne was initially facing up to 10 years in prison, is waking up a free man.

President Trump granted clemency to nearly 150 people in the final hours of his presidency including one-time Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy was among 73 people granted pardons.
Broidy, who held finance posts in Trump’s 2016 campaign, pleaded guilty in October to violating foreign lobbying laws.

Ken Kurson, a friend of Jared Kushner’s, was also pardoned. He was charged in October with cyberstalking in connection to a bitter divorce.

Trump also granted clemency to a prominent Palm Beach County eye doctor who was sentenced to 17 years in prison for health-care fraud. Florida-based eye doctor Salomon Melgen secured a commutation for orchestrating a Medicare fraud scheme, cutting short his prison sentence.

In addition to the pardons, Trump issued commutations to 70 people, including Kwame Kilpatrick, the former mayor of Detroit who was serving a 28-year prison term on corruption charges, and Broward County rapper Kodak Black. Black, 23, who was born Bill Kahan Kapri, was sentenced to prison last year for making a false statement to buy a firearm.

The bulk of the clemency requests came from first-time drug offenders serving life sentences in prison, a source involved in the process told AP.

Other notable pardon recipients include Robert Zangrillo, a Miami venture capitalist charged in the college admissions scandal and former Arizona Rep. Rick Renzi, who was convicted in 2013 on corruption, money laundering and other charges.

Anthony Levandowski, a former Google engineer who was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing self-driving car technology for Uber, was also granted a pardon.

The president personally made every decision on who to approve and who to reject, the source added.