US President Donald Trump has granted charity to former White House assistant Steve Bannon as part of a wave of pardons and commutes he will issue during his final terms, a senior administrative official said.
Trump was not expected to forgive himself, family members or lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who was at the forefront of unsuccessful efforts to disrupt the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, according to sources.
Trump will leave office on Wednesday, when Joe Biden is sworn in as the country’s next president.
Trump also pardoned rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, who were charged with federal gun crime, as well as former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was serving a 28-year prison sentence on corruption charges, a senior administration official said.
Bannon, who was a key adviser in Trump’s 2016 presidential election, was accused last year of tricking Trump supporters into trying to raise private funds to build the president’s wall on the US-Mexico border. He has pleaded not guilty.
White House officials had advised Trump not to forgive Bannon. The two men have recently revived their relationship when Trump sought support for his unproven allegations of voter fraud, said an official familiar with the situation.
Bannon, 67, is the latest prominent political ally to be befriended by Trump, who has often used the powers of the executive branch to reward loyalists and punish his enemies.
Trump previously pardoned National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI about his conversation with the former Russian ambassador, and he commuted the prison term to Roger Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress during his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Bannon can still be prosecuted in the state court of New York, where a pardon would not help him, says Daniel R. Alonso, a former prosecutor now at the law firm Buckley. Fraud charges are often 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 to illegal possession of firearms and received up to ten years in prison. He has expressed support for Trump’s reforms of criminal justice.
Kodak Black, 23, born Bill Kahan Kapri, is in federal prison for making a false statement to buy a firearm.