President Trump handed out 144 pardons and sentence commutations in a chaotic flurry announced by the White House less than 12 hours before the end of his presidency, including one signed late Wednesday morning. The latest recipients include entertainers, politicians from both parties and several well-connected Trump allies.
The most notable is Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist. He and three others were charged in 2020 with defrauding donors who gave money to a private fundraising effort for construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall. The FBI has also been investigating fraud claims regarding Bannon’s business venture with a Chinese businessman. Recently, Bannon has pushed false allegations that Joe Biden won the 2020 election through fraud.
The list also includes many nonviolent drug and fraud offenders who were serving life sentences and whose clemency was championed by a particular criminal justice reform group.
During Christmas week, Trump had announced a previous batch of pardons and commutations, including to some people who had pleaded guilty to lying to federal law enforcement during the Russia investigation.
These people have received executive clemency since the Nov. 3 election.
Among the last-minute pardons were the ex-husband of a Fox News host, two rappers and the founder of a record company.
Dwayne “Lil Wayne” Carter Jr.: The rapper pleaded guilty in December to carrying a loaded handgun from California to Florida on his private jet. He had been barred from owning a gun because of a past felony conviction and faced up to 10 years in prison. Lil Wayne drew condemnation from other musicians and activists for praising Trump before the election.
Bill “Kodak Black” Kapri: The Grammy-nominated Florida rapper was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to weapons charges stemming from his arrest at a 2019 concert. In a court filing, he admitted to lying about his criminal history while acquiring firearms.
Michael “Harry-O” Harris: Harris co-founded the now-defunct Death Row Records and was known for signing rappers such as Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. He was convicted on attempted murder and drug-trafficking charges and served nearly 30 years in prison. Snoop Dogg was instrumental in lobbying for Harris’s compassionate release, according to the Daily Beast.
Albert Pirro: With about an hour left in his presidency, Trump issued a pardon to former Republican power broker Al Pirro, ex-husband of Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro, for his 20-year-old conviction on tax crimes.
Republican officials (and one Democrat)
Among those who received clemency on Jan. 19 were three former congressmen and a prominent Republican fundraiser.
Financier Elliott Broidy: Broidy, a Los Angeles investor, former Trump campaign fundraiser and former national deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee, pleaded guilty in October to acting as an unregistered foreign agent and lobbying the Trump administration on behalf of Malaysian and Chinese interests.
Former congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.): Cunningham had completed prison terms that stemmed from corruption convictions.
Former congressman Robert Cannon “Robin” Hayes (R-N.C.): Hayes was pardoned after finishing a probation sentence for making a false statement during a federal investigation.
Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick: The Democratic former mayor of Detroit was sentenced to 28 years in prison in 2013 on charges of racketeering conspiracy, fraud, extortion and tax crimes. The White House said his commutation was supported by, among others, Trump-supporting former Fox News personalities Diamond and Silk, two Michigan state representatives and more than 30 faith leaders.
Former congressman Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.): Renzi had completed prison terms that stemmed from corruption convictions.
Mayor Casey Urlacher: The unpaid Republican mayor of the village of Mettawa, Ill., and brother of Chicago Bears Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher was charged with conspiracy to engage in illegal gambling.
These Republican lawmakers received clemency in December, including two who had been early supporters of Trump’s campaign.
Former congressman Chris Collins (R-N.Y.): Former congressman Collins had been serving a 26-month sentence for an insider-trading scheme and lying to the FBI. He had pleaded guilty in the case. Collins and Duncan D. Hunter were among Trump’s first congressional supporters.
Former congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.): Hunter, who prosecutors alleged used hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds to pay for family vacations and theater tickets, and even to facilitate extramarital affairs, had been facing an 11-month federal prison sentence. He pleaded guilty in 2019 to misusing campaign funds. Hunter notably won reelection while under federal indictment, only to later admit wrongdoing and resign.
Utah state Rep. Philip Lyman (R): Lyman, a member of the Utah House of Representatives, was sentenced to spend 10 days in jail for his role in a 2014 all-terrain vehicle demonstration that was intended to protest federal land management practices.
Former congressman Mark Siljander (R-Mich.): In 2010, Siljander pleaded guilty to charges of obstruction of justice and acting as a foreign agent on behalf of an Islamic charity that hired him to lobby Congress to have its name removed from a list of alleged terrorist-supporting organizations. In 2012, Siljander was sentenced to a year in federal prison.
Former congressman Steve Stockman (R-Tex.): Stockman was about two years into a 10-year sentence, having been convicted in 2018 of conspiring to take hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations that were meant for charity and voter education. Among those who had signed a petition seeking mercy for Stockman was attorney Sidney Powell, who has been pushing Trump’s false allegations that his election loss came as a result of fraud.
The president used his powers to personally intervene and grant clemency in multiple cases that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III brought against Trump’s former advisers.
Michael Flynn: In November, Trump pardoned former national security adviser Flynn. Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his dealings with a Russian diplomat, though he later sought to withdraw that plea.
George Papadopoulos: Trump gave a full pardon to Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to his 2016 campaign who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during its Russia investigation. In 2018, Papadopoulos served his 14-day prison sentence.
Alex van der Zwaan: Trump also pardoned van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer who had worked with Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort in work related to Ukraine and pleaded guilty in 2018 to lying to Mueller’s team. He served 30 days in prison before returning to his home in London.
Paul Manafort: Trump pardoned former campaign chairman Manafort, who was convicted in 2018 of committing financial fraud and conspiring to obstruct the investigation of his crimes. A White House announcement of the pardons said Manfort’s convictions were “premised on the Russian collusion hoax.”
Roger Stone: Trump upgraded the clemency he had earlier provided to longtime friend Stone to a full pardon. A White House announcement of the pardons said the pardon for Stone would “help to right the injustices he faced at the hands of the Mueller investigation.”
Despite months of speculation, Trump did not attempt to pardon himself, his adult children or other family members on Jan. 19. On Dec. 23, he pardoned the father of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Charles Kushner: The elder Kushner pleaded guilty in 2004 to having made false statements to the Federal Election Commission, witness tampering and tax evasion stemming from $6 million in political contributions and gifts mischaracterized as business expenses.
Blackwater security contractors: The four private security contractors Trump pardoned — Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard — all worked for the now-infamous Blackwater Worldwide security company, founded by Trump supporter Erik Prince. Trump has long viewed Prince as an ally and mused about giving him more government contracts during his presidency, according to White House officials and Trump advisers.
The September 2007 shooting in which the Blackwater contractors were involved left 14 dead and 17 wounded and set off a diplomatic crisis on oversight of American security contractors during one of the deadliest periods in the Iraq War. Slatten had been sentenced to life in prison; Slough and Liberty to 15 and 14 years; and Heard to 12 years and seven months.
Border Patrol agents: Trump also granted pardons to two former Border Patrol agents whose sentences for shooting a suspected drug smuggler fleeing their custody had been previously commuted. According to the White House and news accounts from the time, the agents — Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean — were working near El Paso when they shot the suspected smuggler, Osvaldo Aldrete Dávila, as he tried to get away from them. Compean was sentenced to 12 years in prison and Ramos to 11 years. President George W. Bush had commuted their sentences.
The White House announced this list of additional clemency granted by Trump overnight Wednesday. Many were recommended by Jared Kushner, Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, and Alice Johnson, the woman whose own sentence for a drug conviction was commuted by Trump in 2018 following lobbying by the celebrity Kim Kardashian West.
Tommaso Buti: The Italian restaurateur was indicted in 2000 by New York prosecutors for wire fraud and other charges related to allegations he stole from his restaurant chain. He was acquitted of similar charges in Italy and has denied any wrongdoing. His U.S. charges remained pending until he was pardoned.
April Coots: Coots served more than 10 years of a 20-year sentence for a nonviolent drug offense, the White House said.
Jaime A. Davidson: Davidson was sentenced in 1993 in connection with the murder of an undercover officer. Since his conviction, two witnesses who claimed that he had been involved recanted and said he was not even in the vicinity of the crime.
Paul Erickson: Trump issued a full pardon to GOP political operative Erickson, who had been sentenced to serve seven years in prison for wire fraud and money laundering after pleading guilty to a scheme to defraud investors in oil development company. Separately, he was romantically linked to a Russian woman who pleaded guilty to conspiring to infiltrate conservative groups.
Douglas Jemal: The D.C. real estate magnate was convicted of wire fraud in 2007. He is a close friend of the Kushner family and has a home next to Charles Kushner’s on the Jersey Shore. When Trump won the rights to develop the Old Post Office Pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue into a hotel, Jemal introduced them to real estate contacts in Washington.
Kenneth Kurson: The political consultant was editor in chief of the New York Observer while it was owned by Jared Kushner. Kurson had been charged in October with cyberstalking related to his divorce from his now ex-wife and had not yet gone to trial.
Anthony Levandowski: The former Google engineer pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets and was sentenced to 18 months in prison in August.
Salomon Melgen: West Palm Beach, Fla., eye doctor Melgen was sentenced in 2018 to 17 years in prison for health-care fraud. Prosecutors said he raked in about $75 million from Medicare by persuading elderly patients to undergo unnecessary procedures. Separately, Melgen had been accused of bribing Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) to intercede on his behalf in the Medicare investigation. Menendez was indicted on corruption charges but his 2017 trial resulted in a hung jury, and the Justice Department dropped the case. The White House said Menendez and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) supported Melgen’s commutation.
Glen Moss: Moss was pardoned for his role in a 1998 health-care fraud scheme.
Hillel Nahmad: Nahmad pleaded guilty in 2013 in connection with an illegal sports gambling business run out of a Trump Tower condo. Nahmad owns six units in Trump Tower, according to New York tax and real estate records.
Aviem Sella: Sella, an Israeli citizen and former Israeli Air Force officer, was indicted in 1987 for espionage but never extradited. He was the handler of Jonathan Pollard, a double agent who worked at the Pentagon and was convicted of selling military secrets to Israel in the 1980s. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Republican megadonor Miriam Adelson supported the full pardon.
Adriana Shayota: The businesswoman was convicted of conspiracy to traffic counterfeit goods, copyright infringement and introducing misbranded food into interstate commerce. She had served more than half of her 24-month sentence. The White House said the deputy mayor of Chula Vista, Calif., John McCann, supported the commutation.
Sholam Weiss: Businessman Weiss’s 835-year sentence is believed to be the longest ever for a person convicted of white-collar crime. He was convicted in Florida in 2000 for racketeering, wire fraud and money fraud related to his role in the collapse of the National Heritage Life Insurance Co. Weiss paid Brett Tolman, a Trump ally, former U.S. attorney for Utah and an advocate for criminal justice reform, to try to secure a clemency, lobbying records show. The White House said Tolman was among those supporting the commutation, along with former U.S. attorney general Edwin Meese, former solicitors general Kenneth Starr and Seth Waxman, and others.
Chris Young: Celebrity Kim Kardashian West advocated for Young, who is serving a life sentence for drug crimes under the federal three-strikes law. Even the federal judge who sentenced Young in 2014, Kevin H. Sharp, expressed regret for the life sentence after he left the bench, saying, “What I was required to do that day was cruel and did not make us safer."
Carl Andrews Boggs
James E. Johnson Jr.
Jawad A. Musa
Ferrell Damon Scott
Jerry Donnell Walden
Jeffrey Alan Conway
Matthew Antoine Canady
Rodney Nakia Gibson
Tom Leroy Whitehurst
Monstsho Eugene Vernon
Luis Fernando Sicard
Traie Tavares Kelly
Eric Wesley Patton
Robert William Cawthon
Hal Knudson Mergler
Gary Evan Hendler
John Harold Wall
Steven Samuel Grantham
Clarence Olin Freeman
Fred Keith Alford
Kenneth Charles Fragoso
Way Quoe Long
John Estin Davis
Johnny D. Phillips Jr.
Mahmoud Reza Banki
Jodi Lynn Richter
Cassandra Ann Kasowski
Lerna Lea Paulson
Thomas Kenton “Ken” Ford
Scott Conor Crosby
Joshua J. Smith
Fred “Dave” Clark
James Brian Cruz
Steven Benjamin Floyd
David E. Miller
James Austin Hayes
Patrick Lee Swisher
Robert S. Corkern
David Lamar Clanton
Robert “Bob” Zangrillo
John Duncan Fordham
William “Ed” Henry
Dwayne L. Harrison
Reginald Dinez Johnson
Hector Madrigal Sr.
Trump granted pardons and commutations to:
James Batmasian: Batmasian is a real estate investor and runs property management companies in South Florida. He pleaded guilty to cheating the federal government out of more than $250,000 by failing to pay federal taxes for employees at his company. He was an influential developer and at the time was one of the largest landowners in Boca Raton, Florida.
John Boultbee and Peter Atkinson: The two men were senior executives at Hollinger International and associates of media tycoon Conrad Black. Boultbee and Atkinson were found guilty of three counts of mail fraud and each served a year in prison. Black was a co-defendant in the case and was also convicted; Trump previously pardoned him.
Gary Brugman: The former U.S. Border Patrol agent was convicted of striking and violating the civil rights of a man who had crossed the U.S. border illegally. The White House said his pardon was supported by several Republican members of Congress and conservative media personalities, including Laura Ingraham, Sara Carter, Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs, along with former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who also was convicted of a federal crime and pardoned by Trump.
Rebekah Charleston: Charleston was arrested in 2006 for tax evasion and the White House said she is a victim of sex trafficking who was forced into prostitution. Officials said she volunteers to help sex trafficking victims and her pardon was also supported by a law enforcement agent who arrested her.
Robert Coughlin: Coughlin worked in the Justice Department and was convicted of a conflict of interest charge for his role in the influence peddling scandal surrounding former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The White House said the pardon was supported by former interim U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jeffrey Taylor and Adam Ciongoli, former counselor to Attorney General Ashcroft.
Daniela Gozes-Wagner: The Houston woman was convicted in a $50 million health care fraud scheme in 2017. The White House said the commutation was supported by several former U.S. attorneys general.
Margaret Hunter: Hunter is the wife of former U.S. Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, who Trump pardoned on Tuesday. Along with her husband, she was also convicted of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds and was sentenced to three years of probation. Her husband, a Southern California Republican, had pleaded guilty to stealing about $150,000 from his campaign funds.
Rickey Kanter: Kanter founded a company known as Dr. Comfort, selling special shoes and inserts for diabetics, and was convicted of mail fraud tied to illegal Medicare reimbursements.
James Kassouf: Kassouf pleaded guilty in 1989 to a federal tax offense. The White House said that since his convicted, he has been devoted to his church, fire department and works with charitable organizations.
Cesar Lozada: Lozada was convicted of conspiring to distribute marijuana and served a 14-month prison sentence.
Mary McCarty: A former county commissioner in Palm Beach County, Florida, McCarty was issued a full pardon on Wednesday. She was convicted of a federal criminal charge for honest services fraud. The White House said her pardon was supported by former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Christopher Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax Media.
Stephanie Mohr: The former Prince George’s County canine police officer was convicted of a federal civil rights violation and eventually served 10 years in federal prison for releasing her police dog on an unarmed homeless man in 1995. The White House said her clemency is supported by the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund and the Fraternal Order of Police.
Joseph Occhipinti: Occhipinti was an agent with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service when he was convicted in 1991 of conspiracy to violate civil rights under the color of law and making false statements. His sentence was commuted after seven months in prison by President George H.W. Bush. The White House said he had earned 76 commendations during his career, including from three attorneys general.
Russell Plaisance: Trump granted a posthumous pardon for Plaisance, who was convicted of conspiracy to import cocaine from a 1987 case. The White House said the prosecutors involved in his case did not object to the pardon.
William J. Plemons Jr.: The White House said Plemons was convicted of various financial crimes in the late 1990s and early 2000s and served 27 months in federal prison. Officials said he served in the Air Force and supported several charitable organizations.
Topeka Sam: Sam, now a criminal justice advocate who helped work on a bipartisan criminal justice overhaul that Trump often touts, was convicted of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine and served three years of a more than 10-year prison sentence. She was in the White House when Trump signed the overhaul measure, known as the First Step Act, into law.
Her case had been championed by other criminal justice reform advocates like Alice Marie Johnson, whose life sentence Trump commuted in 2018 at the urging of reality TV star Kim Kardashian West.
Mark Shapiro And Irving Stitsky: Trump commuted Shapiro and Stitsky’s sentences after they were convicted in federal court in New York of defrauding more than 250 people in a $23 million real estate scam. A White House news release praised the men as “model prisoners,” who had earned support and praise from other inmates.
Joseph Martin Stephens: Stephens pleaded guilty in 2008 to being a felon in possession a firearm, a federal offense.
John Tate and Jesse Benton: The men were top staffers on Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign and convicted in 2016 of causing false records and campaign expenditure reports to be filed to the Federal Election Commission. The White House said the pardons were supported by a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and by Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky who is also the son of Ron Paul.
Christopher Wade: The White House said Wade was convicted of multiple cyber-related offenses and has “shown remorse and sought to make his community a safer place.” He was issued a full pardon.
Andrew Barron Worden: Worden, who runs an investment firm and a solar energy company, was convicted of wire fraud in 1998. The White House said Worden had begun to repay his victims before criminal charges were filed.
Christopher II X, Formerly Christopher Anthony Bryant: The prominent community leader in Louisville, Kentucky, was issued a full pardon for his conviction on federal drug charges. He was also issued a pardon by Kentucky’s governor for state offenses in 2019.
Trump extended pardons and commutations to several people who have been active in criminal justice reform or whose causes were championed by others in that field. In February, Trump had commuted the sentences of Crystal Munoz, Tynice Nichole Hall and Judith Negron; on Tuesday he wiped away their terms of supervised release.
Weldon Angelos: Angelos was 24 years old when he was sentenced in 2004 to 55 years in prison for bringing guns to marijuana deals, a sentence a federal judge was forced to impose because of mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Utah Sen. Mike Lee petitioned former president Barack Obama to grant clemency to Angelos, as did the former federal judge who sentenced Angelos. Obama did not commute Angelos’ sentence but the man was instead released from prison after receiving a sentence reduction in court.
Alfonso Costa: Costa is a dentist from Pittsburgh who pleaded guilty to a health care fraud charge related to false billing, served two years of probation and paid nearly $300,000 in fines and restitution. The White House said Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and former NFL football player Jerome Bettis had requested clemency for Costa and said Costa devoted much of his adult life to serving his community.
Alfred Lee Crum: The 89-year-old pleaded guilty in 1952 — when he was 19 — to helping his wife’s uncle illegally distill moonshine. He served three years of probation and paid a $250 fine.
Philip Esformes: The former Florida health care executive was convicted on 20 criminal counts in what prosecutors described as a $1 billion Medicare fraud scheme, one of the biggest such cases in U.S. history. Esformes’ prison sentence was commuted by the president on Tuesday, but other aspects of his sentence, including supervised release and millions in restitution, remained intact. The White House said the commutation was supported by a number of former attorneys general and said Esformes is in declining health.
Otis Gordon: The pastor, convicted of drug possession charges, was issued a full pardon, supported by South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.
Crystal Munoz, Judith Negron and Tynice Nichole Hall: Munoz, Negron and Hall had received executive clemency earlier this year and their cases represent the flood of requests that presidents typically receive. Their cases had been championed by criminal justice reform advocates such as Alice Marie Johnson, whose life sentence Trump commuted in 2018 at the urging of reality TV star Kim Kardashian West and whose story Trump’s reelection campaign featured in a Super Bowl ad.
Rosalind S. Helderman, Matt Zapotosky, Josh Dawsey, Kevin Uhrmacher, Tim Meko, Atthar Mirza, Colby Itkowitz, Bonnie Berkowitz and William Neff contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo of the Associated Press also contributed.