WASHINGTON, D.C. — In one of his final acts as president, Donald Trump issued pardons late Tuesday that included one for Steve Bannon, his former campaign adviser, The New York Times reported.
Update 1:17 a.m. ET Jan. 20: In addition to Bannon, Trump issued pardons for 72 others and commuted the sentences of 70 more, the White House said in a news release early Wednesday.
Notable people who received pardons include rapper Lil Wayne, who pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon; former Republican National Committee Deputy National Finance Chair Elliott Broidy, who was convicted of conspiracy to serve as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal; and former U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi, an Arizona Republican who was convicted of extortion, bribery, insurance fraud, money laundering and racketeering.
Those who received commutations include rapper Kodak Black, who was sentenced to 46 months in prison for making a false statement on a federal document, and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who served seven years in prison for racketeering and bribery.
Original report: The pardon for Bannon, 67, was described as a pre-emptive move, which would erase charges against him if he is convicted, the newspaper reported.
Bannon was charged last year with defrauding donors to a private fundraising effort for the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, The Washington Post reported.
Breaking News: President Trump pardoned Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist who was charged with defrauding people. The pardon was described as a pre-emptive move that would effectively wipe away the charges if Bannon was convicted.https://t.co/vWfv8AcYEw— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 20, 2021
Federal authorities, including the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, arrested Bannon, 67, on Aug. 20, 2020, along with entrepreneur Andrew Badolato, Timothy Shea and We Build the Wall founder Brian Kolfage.
In an indictment unsealed in August, authorities said Kolfage “covertly took more than $350,000″ of the more than $25 million raised by the campaign.
In addition, “(Bannon), through a non-profit organization under his control ... received over $1,000,000 from We Build the Wall, which (Bannon) used to, among other things, secretly pay (Kolfage) and to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in (Bannon’s) personal expenses,” according to the indictment.
>> Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon arrested, pleads not guilty to defrauding donors
Authorities said Bannon and the other defendants used fake invoices and vendor arrangements to hide money transfers through Bannon’s unnamed non-profit organization and a shell company that Shea controlled.
Bannon, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, was expected to appear in court in May.
Bannon’s pardon comes after Trump met Sunday with his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, daughter Ivanka Trump and other aides for most of the day to review a list of pardons, the Post reported.
There had been speculation that Trump might pardon himself or family members, but aides believed that was unlikely, the newspaper reported. The president and his children have not been charged with any crimes, and they are not believed to be under federal investigation.
Another name that had been floated was WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, along with Tiger King miniseries star Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic.
Before Tuesday’s announcement, Trump had pardoned 94 people, including 49 in the week before Christmas, the Post reported.
They have included people convicted in the special counsel investigation such as longtime adviser Roger Stone, former campaign chairman Paul Manaforte and his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
However, in meetings over the weekend, Trump was warned by the White House counsel against granting clemency to Republican lawmakers who might be connected to the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to The New York Times.
According to the Post, about 14,000 people have filed petitions for pardons and commutations.
Check back for more on this developing story.
Cox Media Group