In the final hours of his presidency on Jan. 20, 2021, U.S. President Donald Trump pardoned or commuted the criminal sentences of more than 140 people — including his former campaign adviser Steve Bannon, rapper Lil Wayne, former members of Congress, relatives, and political allies.
Below is a list of everyone Trump offered clemency hours before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony based on multiple reports from reputable news outlets and a White House news release.
UPDATE: January 20, 2021 at 9:07 a.m.:
Other presidents have issued controversial pardons before leaving the White House. But perhaps no other commander in chief has so enjoyed using the clemency authority to benefit not only friends and acquaintances but also celebrity defendants and those championed by allies.
That said, Trump did not issue a preemptive pardon for himself, despite reports from aids that he had weighed that option over days (see more details on that below) and the fact that he had explicitly stated his authority to do so. He also did not pardon his children or personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
Here's the full list of people on the White House's "Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding Executive Grants of Clemency:"
- Stephen Bannon (full pardon), who led the conservative Breitbart News before running Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. He was charged in 2020 with defrauding donors to a private fundraising effort for construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. His prosecution was still in its early stages and any trial was months away, per the AP.
- Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., or "Lil Wayne" (full pardon), who pleaded guilty in December to carrying a loaded handgun from California to Florida on his private jet, according to The Washington Post. He was barred from owning the gun because of past felony convictions, including a weapons charge.
- Bill K. Kapri, or "Kodak Black" (commuted sentence), a 23-year-old rapper who was sentenced to almost four years in 2019 for making false statements to buy guns, per BBC.
- Elliott Broidy (full pardon), a prominent Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty in fall 2020 in a scheme to lobby the Trump administration to drop an investigation into the looting of a Malaysian wealth fund, according to the AP.
- Kenneth Kurson (full pardon), a friend of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner who was charged in October with cyberstalking during a heated divorce, per the AP.
- Salomon Melgen (commuted sentence), a prominent eye doctor from Palm Beach, Florida, who is in prison after being convicted on dozens of counts of health care fraud.
- Shalom Weiss (commuted sentence), who was sentenced to more than 800 years in prison in connection to a fraud scheme that siphoned $450 million from an insurance company, leading to its collapse. He spent a year on the run before being arrested in Austria and extradited to the U.S., per The New York Times.
- Michael Harris (commuted sentence), 59, the co-founder of seminal rap label Death Row Records and served 32 years for attempted murder and cocaine trafficking, according to BBC.
- Hillel Nahmad (full pardon), a New York art dealer who owns an entire floor at Trump Tower and was sentenced in 2014 to a prison after pleading guilty to a federal gambling charge, according to artnet News.
- Rep. Rick Renzi (full pardon), an Arizona Republican who the AP said was sentenced to three years for corruption, money laundering and other charges.
- Randall “Duke” Cunningham (conditional pardon), a former U.S. representative from California who was convicted of accepting bribes from defense contractors and released from prison in 2013.
- Kwame Kilpatrick (commuted sentence), a former mayor of Detroit who served about seven years for racketeering and bribery scheme, according to the AP.
- Casey Urlacher (full pardon), the brother of former NFL linebacker Brian Urlacher who was facing federal charges related to a sports gambling ring, according to NBC Sports. Brian Urlacher visited Trump in the White House in 2020 and posted pro-Trump messages on social media.
- Todd Boulanger (full pardon), an army veteran who pled guilty to conspiracy in a fraud scheme in 2008, the White House statement said.
- Abel Holtz (full pardon), 86, who pleaded guilty to impeding a grand jury, per the release.
- Carl Andrews Boggs (full pardon), who in 2014 pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from an investigation into the illegal use of a disadvantaged business enterprise to obtain government-funded construction contracts, according to NBC.
- Jaime A. Davidson (commuted sentence), who was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in connection to the murder of an undercover police officer in 1993, even though witnesses who testified against him later recanted their testimony and said he was not involved in the crime, according to NBC.
- James E. Johnson, Jr. (full pardon), who pled guilty to charges related to migratory birds in 2008.
Other people who received pardons or commuted sentences from Trump:
- Tommaso Buti
- Jawad A. Musa
- Adriana Shayota
- Glen Moss
- Anthony Levandowski
- Aviem Sella
- Michael Liberty
- Greg Reyes
- Ferrell Damon Scott
- Jerry Donnell Walden
- Jeffrey Alan Conway
- Benedict Olberding
- Syrita Steib-Martin
- Michael Ashley
- Lou Hobbs
- Matthew Antoine Canady
- Mario Claiborne
- Rodney Nakia Gibson
- Tom Leroy Whitehurst
- Monstsho Eugene Vernon
- Luis Fernando Sicard
- DeWayne Phelps
- Isaac Nelson
- Traie Tavares Kelly
- Javier Gonzales
- Eric Wesley Patton
- Robert William Cawthon
- Hal Knudson Mergler
- Gary Evan Hendler
- John Harold Wall
- Steven Samuel Grantham
- Clarence Olin Freeman
- Fred Keith Alford
- John Knock
- Kenneth Charles Fragoso
- Luis Gonzalez
- Anthony DeJohn
- Corvain Cooper
- Way Quoe Long
- Michael Pelletier
- Craig Cesal
- Darrell Frazier
- Lavonne Roach
- Blanca Virgen
- Robert Francis
- Brian Simmons
- Derrick Smith
- Raymond Hersman
- David Barren
- James Romans
- Jonathon Braun
- Kyle Kimoto
- Chalana McFarland
- Eliyahu Weinstein
- John Estin Davis
- Alex Adjmi
- Elliott Broidy
- Douglas Jemal
- Noah Kleinman
- Dr. Scott Harkonen
- Johnny D. Phillips, Jr.
- Dr. Mahmoud Reza Banki
- Tena Logan
- MaryAnne Locke
- April Coots
- Caroline Yeats
- Jodi Lynn Richter
- Kristina Bohnenkamp
- Mary Roberts
- Cassandra Ann Kasowski
- Lerna Lea Paulson
- Ann Butler
- Sydney Navarro
- Tara Perry
- John Nystrom
- Gregory Jorgensen, Deborah Jorgensen, Martin Jorgensen
- Jessica Frease
- Robert Cannon “Robin” Hayes
- Thomas Kenton “Ken” Ford
- Jon Harder
- Scott Conor Crosby
- Chris Young
- Adrianne Miller
- Lynn Barney
- Joshua J. Smith
- Amy Povah
- Dr. Frederick Nahas
- David Tamman
- Dr. Faustino Bernadett
- Paul Erickson
- Kwame Kilpatrick
- Fred “Dave” Clark
- Todd Farha, Thaddeus Bereday, William Kale, Paul Behrens, Peter Clay
- David Rowland
- William Walters
- Stephen Odzer
- James Brian Cruz
- Steven Benjamin Floyd
- Joey Hancock
- David E. Miller
- James Austin Hayes
- Drew Brownstein
- Robert Bowker
- Amir Khan
- Patrick Lee Swisher
- Robert Sherrill
- Dr. Robert S. Corkern
- David Lamar Clanton
- George Gilmore
- Desiree Perez
- Robert “Bob” Zangrillo
- Brian McSwain
- John Duncan Fordham
- William “Ed” Henry
ORIGINAL POST: January 19, 2021 at 10:21 a.m.:
Is Trump Preparing To Pardon Capitol Rioters?
Officials predict hundreds of criminal cases will ultimately be filed against right-wing extremists who broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to try to halt a congressional vote to certify Biden's win.
During Trump's final days of office, at least one post circulated on social media alleging a scheme by Trump to pardon those people, some of whom officials say they are considering filing sedition charges against.
"There are a lot of people urging the president to pardon the folks [involved]," Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News on Jan. 17. "To seek a pardon of these people would be wrong."
Are Rumors About Trump Pardoning Lil Wayne True?
Several news outlets reported Trump's pardoning list could include the 38-year-old rapper and music executive, whose real name is Dwayne Carter Jr. .
Lil Wayne, who has not yet been sentenced for the latest weapons charge, met with Trump and posed for photos five days before the November 2020 election. Other musicians and activists criticized the rapper for posting the photo to social media — a screenshot of which is displayed below — and crediting Trump with helping Black Americans.
Will Trump Try To Grant Himself a Preemptive Pardon?
Citing interviews with two people familiar with Trump's pardoning plans — sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity — The Washington Post reported Trump spent days weighing the question of whether to issue preemptive pardons to his adult children, top aides, and himself.
But as of this writing, aides said they no longer expected a preemptive self-pardon or pardons for Trump's relatives.
Advisers encouraged Trump to forgo the option for himself because it could appear he was guilty of something and turn more Republicans against him in his coming Senate impeachment trial, according to news outlets. The New York Times reported:
Hanging over the process is the question of the president’s own potential legal troubles. Mr. Trump’s company faces a criminal investigation from the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which is examining whether the president and his company committed any financial or tax crimes in recent years. That investigation involves state law and would not be affected by any pardon the president might grant himself, which would apply only to federal law.
No president has attempted a self-pardon before, though Trump would not be the first president to pardon family members. In early 2001, former President Bill Clinton controversially pardoned his half-brother Roger Clinton who was convicted for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and distribution of cocaine in 1985. (See our full fact check into that claim here.)
Another preemptive pardon under discussion was for Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization. But Trump was unlikely to pursue that request out of fear that Weisselberg may forfeit his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, The New York Times said.
What about Rudy Giuliani?
Aides said it is unlikely Trump will offer the privilege to his personal attorney, Giuliani, whose consulting business has come under scrutiny as part of an investigation that led to charges against two of his associates, The Post reported.
On Jan. 18, Giuliani said on his radio show, per The New York Times: “I do not need a pardon. I don’t commit crimes,” though he asserted there was a risk that prosecutors “will try to frame me, like they tried to frame Donald Trump.” He added, “I’m willing to run that risk, and I’m willing to fight ’em by the law."
Who Else Is Expected To Be on Trump's List of Pardons?
Among those under consideration for a pardon or a commutation is the former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, 76, who was convicted twice on corruption charges and sentenced to prison last summer, two sources told The New York Times. Reuters later confirmed that reporting.
Additionally, Sholam Weiss, the recipient of what is believed to be the longest-ever white-collar prison sentence, is also under consideration for clemency, per The New York Times. In 2000, he was sentenced to more than 800 years in prison in connection to a fraud scheme that siphoned $450 million from an insurance company, leading to its collapse. He spent a year on the run before being arrested in Austria and extradited to the U.S.
Several people who are familiar with Trump's plans told CNN that Dr. Salomon Melgen — the prominent eye doctor from Palm Beach who is in prison after being convicted on dozens of counts of health care fraud — is expected to be included in the clemency list.
How Many People Has Trump Pardoned Already?
Since the beginning of his term, Trump has granted clemency to 94 people — mostly friends and political allies — including 49 in the final weeks of 2020. They include:
- Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman who was among first people to be charged in Robert Mueller’s investigation to determine whether Trump had obstructed justice with his allies’ alleged ties to Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
- Roger Stone, a longtime friend of Trump who was also convicted in Mueller’s investigation.
- Charles Kushner, the father of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who pleaded guilty years ago to tax evasion and making illegal campaign donations.
- Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during Mueller's investigation.
- Three Republican former members of Congress who were accused of crimes including misusing charitable contributions and campaign funds.
- Four military contractors involved in the killing of unarmed civilians during the Iraq War in 2007.