President Trump’s Final Pardon List


Murphy Eggers

As Donald J. Trump’s four years came to a close, one of the central topics of debate was who he was going to grant clemency to.  Throughout his presidency, Trump gave pardons every once in a while, but many people knew he would be giving out handfuls of pardons towards the end of his presidency.  Many of the pardons included people involved with Trump, celebrities and other prominent figures.

There were a couple celebrities that were given a pardon by Trump.  The first was Dwayne Michael Carter, also known as Lil Wayne.  Last Christmas,  Lil Wayne was caught possessing a .45-caliber handgun with ammunition while trying to travel on a private plane to Florida.  As a convicted felon, Lil Wayne was not permitted to have such weaponry.  In early December, Wayne pleaded guilty to the charges against him.  A hearing for Lil Wayne was scheduled for January 28, 2021 with a possible sentence of 10 years.  Throughout the past year, Lil Wayne and his team campaigned heavily for a potential pardon by Trump. 

Another celebrity that had their sentence commuted was Bill Kahan Kapri, also known as Kodak Black.  Kodak was also charged with a firearm possession charge when he tried to cross the Canadian-American border with a handgun.  He pleaded guilty to this charge and was serving his sentence in federal prison for the majority of 2020.  Like Lil Wayne, Kodak and his legal team convinced President Trump to commute Kodak’s sentence.  While this sentence was commuted, Kodak Black faces other charges including criminal sexual assault charges.

Some other figures that were granted clemency include, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, Elliot Broidy, Stephen Bannon who were involved in the Trump campaign or were close to Trump.  Surprisingly, Trump added a couple democrats to his pardon list including former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick who both were involved in extreme corruption.

While many people close to or not so close to President Trump may have gotten their clemency, some people did not receive a pardon that a lot of the American population thought should have been pardoned.  Two of the most prominent figures that Trump was put on blast for not granting a pardon to include Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.  Assange is best known as the founder of Wikileaks. Founded in 2006, Wikileaks has published a large amount of classified information by the U.S. government and other entities, most may remember when Wikileaks hosted thousands of emails of the 2016 Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton.  For over a decade, Assange has been under investigation for publishing such information to the internet.

Assange has been in United Kingdom custody since April 2019.  There have been reports of maltreatment of Assange in UK prison.  Reports include extreme psychological torture which has lead to extreme stress.  Many have pushed for Assange’s extradition, but there has been no luck with politicians believing he is a risk.  Many hoped Assange would make Trump’s pardon list, but did not end up receiving the pardon many people believed he deserved.

Another person many people were perplexed to see not receive a pardon was Edward Snowden.  Snowden, a former CIA employee, leaked classified information about United States surveillance programs that lead to charges that violated the Espionage Act of 1917.  Shortly after exposing these documents he fled to seek asylum in Russia where he eventually made his permanent residence.  Many people believed Snowden was a much more controversial personality because on one hand people call him a hero while others call him a traitor.  Like Assange, Snowden did not make the final pardon list of President Trump. 

A figure in entertainment that many Americans wanted to see pardoned was the star of Netflix show “Tiger King”, Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage.  Joe Exotic developed multiple charges from hiring someone to murder all the way to killing his own tigers.  He was sentenced to 22 years in prison.  After the hit show released, people petitioned to get the Tiger King released, and as Trump’s term came to an end Joe’s family heavily believed Trump would grant him clemency.  Joe Exotic’s family has a limo and make-up crew on standby at the prison waiting for his release.  He did not receive a pardon.

In all, President Trump pardoned 73 people and commuted 70 more of their sentences in his final days of President.