Trump pardons former top strategist Bannon, as he leaves office
WASHINGTON (US) – US President Donald Trump has granted pardon to former White House aide Steve Bannon as part of a slew of pardons and commutations that will be issued during his final hours in office, a senior administration official said.
Trump was not expected to pardon himself, members of his family or lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who came under the spotlight for unsuccessful efforts to get the results of the 2020 presidential election upside down, according to sources.
Trump leaves office on Wednesday, when Joe Biden is sworn in as the nation’s next president.
Trump also pardoned rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black who were prosecuted on federal weapons offenses, as well as former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, serving a 28-year prison term on corruption charges, according to the senior administration official.
Bannon, who was a key adviser in Trump’s 2016 presidential run, was charged last year with trying to dupe Trump supporters by raising private funds for building the president’s wall on the US-Mexico border. He has pleaded not guilty.
White House officials had advised Trump against pardoning Bannon. The two men have lately revived their relationship as Trump was seen seeking support for his claims of voter fraud, which had no proof, an official familiar with the situation said.
Bannon, 67, is the latest prominent political ally to receive clemency from Trump, who has often made use of the powers of the executive branch to keep showering loyalists with rewars and punish his enemies.
Trump previously pardoned former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI regarding his conversation with the former Russian ambassador, and he also mitigated the prison term for Roger Stone, convicted of not saying the truth to Congress during its scrutiny of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Daniel R. Alonso, a former prosecutor now at the Buckley law firm, said, Bannon would still have to face charges in state court in New York, where a pardon would not help him. Fraud prosecutions are frequently brought by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Alonso said.
Lil Wayne, 38, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr, pleaded guilty in federal court in December for unlawful possession of a firearm and faced up to 10 years in prison. He has spoken in support of Trump’s criminal justice reform efforts.
Kodak Black, 23, who was born Bill Kahan Kapri, is in federal prison for trying to distort, in a statement, in order to buy a firearm.