One of the most curious and interesting tasks a President has in his final days in office, after reviewing thousands of applications, is to grant a pardon or clemency to individuals who have been convicted of crimes through the past years.
President Obama holds the record for the largest single-day use of the clemency power, granting 330 commutations on January 19, 2017, his last full day in office. One of Obama’s most controversial clemency was the one he granted to Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning who leaked hundreds of thousands of sensitive government documents to WikiLeaks. A traitor in every sense, in 2013 Manning was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison.
I’m sure President Trump’s list of pardon and clemency recipients will draw ire from his opponenets, too. Time will tell.
Here is the list of Trump’s final pardons.
The former Breitbart editor turned podcaster, a nationalist and “outsider conservative”, was dismissed as the president’s chief strategist in the wake of Charlottesville in August 2017 since which time relations between the two men have been acrimonious, not least because Mr Bannon was quoting attacking the president’s children in Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury.
Mr Bannon’s pardon was especially notable given that the prosecution was still in its early stages and any trial was months away. Whereas pardon recipients are conventionally thought of as defendants who have faced justice, often by having served at least some prison time, the pardon nullifies the prosecution and effectively eliminates any prospect for punishment.
“Steve Bannon is getting a pardon from Trump after defrauding Trump’s own supporters into paying for a wall that Trump promised Mexico would pay for,” Democratic congressman Adam Schiff commented on Twitter. “And if that all sounds crazy, that’s because it is. Thank God we have only 12 more hours of this den of thieves.”
The Republican fundraiser pleaded guilty last autumn in a scheme to lobby the Trump administration to drop an investigation into the looting of a Malaysian wealth fund.
A friend of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Mr Kurson was charged last October with cyberstalking during a heated divorce.
The former mayor of Detroit has served about seven years behind bars for a racketeering and bribery scheme.
Five-time Grammy Award winner Lil Wayne, whose legal name is Dwayne Carter Jr, appeared to support Trump on the campaign trail ahead of his re-election bid when Carter said he backed the president’s criminal justice reform programme and economic plan for African Americans.
But Mr Carter, whose 2016 single “No Problem” won the Best Rap Performance Grammy, pleaded guilty last month to illegally possessing a loaded, gold-plated handgun when his chartered jet landed in Miami in December 2019. He faced a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
Mr Black, 23, who was born Bill Kahan Kapri, is in federal prison for making a false statement to buy a firearm and released the album Bill Israel from behind bars.
He pleaded guilty in August 2019 and three months later was sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison. He was seeking compassionate release and his commutation was supported by religious leaders, other rappers and athletes.
Mr Trump commuted the prison sentence of hip hop mogul Michael “Harry-O” Harris on drug-trafficking and murder charges.
Nahmad founded the Helly Nahmad Gallery in Manhattan, New York, in 2000, which holds several fine art exhibitions every year featuring work by the likes of Pablo Picasso and Francis Bacon.
In 2014, he was sentenced to 12 months in prison, serving four, after pleading guilty to a federal charge of “operating an illegal gambling business”.
The ex-Arizona Republican congressman has served three years for corruption, money laundering and other charges.
The ex-California representative was convicted of accepting $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors. Cunningham, who was released from prison in 2013, received a conditional pardon.
Former Trump campaign adviser and confidant Roger Stone was convicted in November 2019 on seven charges related to the Russia investigation.
The Republican lobbyist was pardoned by Mr Trump last week after the president commuted his sentence in July, a week before he was due to report to federal prison. Stone had been sentenced to 40 months which he will no longer serve.
The former national security adviser pleaded guilty after lying about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the US.
Flynn was the only White House official to be convicted by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, links between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, and the president’s alleged obstruction of justice.
Paul Manafort, the president’s one-time campaign chairman, was pardoned after having his sentence commuted earlier this year.
Manafort was found guilty of eight financial crimes including filing false tax returns on tens of millions of dollars in Ukrainian political consulting income.
Alex van der Zwaan
Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer, was sentenced to 30 days in prison for lying to investigators during the Mueller investigation.
The president has repeatedly taken aim at Mueller’s investigation, which considered Trump campaign ties to Russia, and convicted aides including van der Zwaan in the process.
George Papadopoulos was the second person convicted in the Russia investigation, which handed the former Trump campaign advisor a 14-day prison sentence.
He pleaded guilty to lying about a conversation he had with Russians, who had told him they had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump’s 2016 Democratic opponent.
Duncan Hunter, a former Republican congressman from California, was sentenced to 11 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to stealing $150,000 from campaign funds to spend on vacations and personal luxuries.
He was to begin his sentence in May 2020 but had it pushed back to January 2021 due to the pandemic.
Chris Collins, another Republican included in Mr Trump’s pardons, was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment after he admitted to helping his son and others dodge $800,000 in stock market losses when he passed on information about a pharmaceutical company to them.
The former New York congressman was among the first to endorse Mr Trump for president.
Steve Stockman, the former Republican congressman from Texas, was convicted of misusing charitable funds of $775,000.
The White House said that Stockman had contracted coronavirus while in prison. He served more than two years of his 10-year sentence, and will still be required to serve time on supervised release along with paying about $1m in restitution.
Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard
The four men were contractors working for the US state department in 2007 when they opened fire on unarmed civilians in a crowded square in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital.
They killed 14 civilians, including two children, one who was just nine years old. The massacre led to lengthy prison sentences.
Alfonso Costa, a former Pittsburgh dentist and close friend of Housing Secretary Ben Carson, was convicted of healthcare fraud.
He pleaded guilty and served two years on probation, along with being ordered to pay $300,000 (£224,000) in fines and restitution.
Alfred Lee Crum
The 89-year-old pleaded guilty to helping his wife’s uncle illegally distill moonshine in 1952, when he was 19 years old. He served three years of probation and paid a $250 fine.
The White House said Crum, of Oklahoma, had maintained a clean record, had four children and been married for nearly 70 years. He has also attended the same church for 60 years and regularly participated in charity fundraising events.
Philip Esformes, a wealthy Miami businessman and former health care executive, was responsible for one of the biggest healthcare fraud schemes in US history, worth $1 billion.
His 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 pastor, convicted of drug possession charges, was issued a full pardon, supported by Trump ally and South Carolina senator Tim Scott.
Weldon Angelos was 24 years old when he was given a 55-year prison sentence in 2004 for marijuana dealing while in possession of weapons. It was his first conviction.
Utah senator Mike Lee had petitioned former president Barack Obama to grant clemency to Angelos, a music producer. He was instead released from prison after receiving a sentence reduction in court.
Igancio Ramos and Jose Compean
The two former US Border Patrol agents were convicted of shooting and wounding a Mexican drug smuggler near El Paso, Texas, in 2005.
They were released in 2009 after then-president George W Bush commuted their sentences – 11 and 12 years respectively.
A Republican from Utah who currently serves as a state representative, served 10 days in prison after he led a motorbike protest through a Native American canyon, which was banned at the time. The rules were later undone by the Trump administration.
Crustal Munoz, Judith Negron and Tynice Nichole Hall
Munoz, Negron and Hall had their cases championed by criminal justice reform activists. All were commuted last week.
Crystal Munoz was serving a 20-year prison sentence on a drug conspiracy charge. Negron had been serving 35 years for health care fraud. And Hall was serving 18 years for drug charges.
An anti-immigration hardliner who was elected five times as sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, he was the first pardon issued by Mr Trump.
Arpaio was charged with criminal contempt for defying a court order to stop detaining people.
A former businessman and Trump associate was pardoned more than a decade after he was sentenced for fraud and obstruction of justice. He was released in 2012.
The former Chicago Sun-Times, Jerusalem Post and Daily Telegraph owner went on to write pro-Trump op-eds.
Saucier was discharged from the US Navy and sentenced to one year imprisonment for photographing a submarine.
Mr Trump often cited Saucier’s claims that he was punished more harshly than Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server as US secretary of state.
Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby
Libby served as senior adviser to vice president Dick Cheney in the George W Bush administration. He was convicted on four charges including the obstruction of justice and perjury in 2007.
His case later found favour with Mr Trump, who issued a pardon.
Jack Johnson, Susan B Anthony, Zay Jeffries
Three people have received posthumous pardons from Mr Trump, including the former professional boxer Jack Johnson, who was sentenced in 1913 for transporting a white woman across state lines.
Susan B Anthony, the women’s suffragist, was arrested and fined for voting illegally in 1872. She was pardoned by Mr Trump on the 100th anniversary of voting rights being extended to women.
Zay Jeffries, a General Electric vice president who was convicted in 1948 for antitrust violations related to his work on artillery shells used in the Second World War. Pardoned by Mr Trump seven decades later.
Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative commentator, was pardoned by Mr Trump after pleading guilty to making illegal campaign contributions. He had blamed his conviction on his political opposition to president Obama.
The former Democratic governor of Illinois – and contestant on Mr Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice show – was pardoned after being sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2011 for trying to sell or trade the senate seat vacated by Mr Obama.
Dwight L Hammond and Steven D Hammond
A father and son who were convicted of committing arson on federal land in 2012. Their sentences sparked protests against federal land management in Oregon and other states – and sympathy from Mr Trump.
A former US Army lieutenant who was sentenced to twenty years in prison for the murder of an Iraqi man in US custody in 2008.
When Mr Trump pardoned him in 2019, the White House said that Behenna’s case had “attracted broad support from the military, Oklahoma elected officials, and the public”.
A former Republican lawmaker who served 26 months after pleading guilty in 1994 to soliciting for illegal campaign donations. He went on to become an advocate for criminal justice reform.
A former Texas construction company businessman who was pardoned after being sentenced for tax charges. He donated to Mr Trump’s re-election bid.
A former tech company executive who was pardoned after pleading guilty to conspiring to hack a competitor, and had his case championed by former New Jersey governor and Trump ally Chris Christie.
Michael Anthony Tedesco
Convicted of drug trafficking and fraud three decades ago, Mr Tedesco was pardoned by Mr Obama and then Mr Trump, whose 2019 pardon corrected an administrative error with the previous pardon.
Roy Wayne McKeever
Pleaded guilty to charges of transporting marijuana from Mexico to Oklahoma in 1989 and was sentenced to one year in prison. MrTrump pardoned him last year.
A White House statement at the time, called him “an active member of the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas.”
John Richard Bubala
Pardoned after being sentenced for improper use of federal property in 1990 when he transferred automotive equipment for maintenance, for which the White House said was “to help the town” of Milltown, Indiana.
Chalmer Lee Williams
An airport baggage handler who was convicted on several charges in 1995 that were related to the theft and sale of weapons. Williams was said to have behaved impeccably in prison and accepted responsibility.
Rodney M Takumi
Mr Takumi was convicted of working at an illegal gambling parlor in 1987 and went on to run a tax preparation franchise within the Navajo Nation, before being pardoned.
Jon Donyae Ponder
Ponder pleaded guilty to bank robbery in 2005 and went on to start a nonprofit organisation helping former prisoners, after serving four years in prison.
Mr Trump pardoned him on the second night of the 2020 Republican National Convention.
Kerik, the former police commissioner for New York City and ally of Mr Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, was pardoned after pleading guilty to tax fraud and seven other charges in 2010. He served four years in prison.
Arrested for his involvement in political lobbying fraud, Safavian was former president George W Bush’s top federal procurement official.
When Mr Trump pardoned him, the White House said Safavian had been active in criminal justice reform after his release from prison.
Michael R Milken
Milken was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1990, having pleaded guilty to securities fraud and conspiracy charges. The former Wall Street financier went on to do charity work, and was pardoned by Mr Trump.
The Republican author and television personality served six months of home confinement in 2007 for her role in a stolen-vehicle ring.
After her pardon by Mr Trump, she went on to run for a seat in Congress in 2020, citing the extreme Q-Anon conspiracy theory.
Clint Lorance, Mathew L Golsteyn, Edward Gallagher
Three former members of the US military who were accused or convicted of war crimes, but praised by some Republicans, and then pardoned by Trump.
Clint Lorance, a former Army lieutenant, had been serving a twenty year sentence for murdering two civilians in Afghanistan.
Edward DeBartolo Jr
The former owner of the San Francisco 49ers was charged in 1998 after he pleaded guilty to concealing an extortion plot involving the then governor of Louisiana.
He avoided prison at the time, and was suspended for a year by the NFL, before Mr Trump pardoned him.
Alice Marie Johnson
When Mr Trump issued the pardon, Johnson’s case was brought to the public’s attention by reality television personality Kim Kardashian West.
He previously commuted her sentence for conspiracy to possess cocaine and money laundering.
The real estate executive and father of Mr Tump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, was sentenced to two years in prison for tax evasion, witness tampering and illegal campaign donations.
His pardon was among the latest issued by Mr Trump, despite ally Chris Christie calling the case “one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes” he investigated when attorney general for New Jersey.
The wife of former Republican congressman Duncan Hunter, who was also pardoned by Trump last week.
She was convicted alongsider her husband of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds and was sentenced to three years of probation.
John Tate and Jesse Benton
Two top staffers on the 2012 Republican presidential campaign for Ron Paul, who were afterwards convicted of reporting false campaign financial reports.
They tried to hide payments to former Iowa Senator Kent Sorenson for his endorsement of Paul, whose son, Senator Rand Paul, supported the pardon.
The former Maryland police officer was sentenced for releasing her police dog on a homeless man in 2001 and went on to serve 10 years in prison before being pardoned.
During an encounter with a group of people who illegally crossed into the US from Mexico, the former Border Patrol agent struck one of the men, who later filed a complaint.
Mr Brugman, whose case received support from Republican lawmakers and commentators, served 27 months in prison before being pardoned.
Ms McCarty, a former Florida county commissioner who was found to have “personally enrich[ed] herself” through a series of municipal transactions.
Former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi and Christopher Ruddy, the CEO of pro-Trump news outlet Newsmax, supported the pardon.
A former Michigan congressman who was convicted on charges of money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice in 2008.
He allegedly lobbied for the removal of an Islamic charity from a list of organisations suspected of funding international terrorism, after taking funds from the group.
Republican lawmakers advocated for the pardon, after Siljander went on to do charitable work in the Middle East and Africa, the White House said.
Christopher II X, previously Christopher Anthony Bryant
An activist from Kentucky who was previously convicted on federal drug charges, before becoming a local community leader in Louisville.
The White House said he was a “powerful example of the possibility of redemption”.
Another official who was convicted for his involvement in the lobbying fraud scandal surrounding former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Occhipinti was an agent with the US Immigration and Naturalization Service when he was convicted in 1991 of conspiracy to violate civil rights.
His sentence was commuted after seven months in prison by president George HW Bush, before being fully pardoned by Mr Trump.
A former businessman who was convicted for selling shoes that did not meet Medicare requirements and mail fraud.
Convicted for conspiring with others to bill Medicare and Medicaid for millions of dollars’ worth of medical tests that were either unnecessary or never carried-out.
The president commuted her sentence with the support of several former US attorneys general, having served less than a year of her 20 year prison sentence.
Mark Shapiro and Irving Stitsky
The pair were convicted and sentenced to serve 85 years in prison after they defrauded more than 250 people with a $23 million real estate scam.
The White House praised the men as “model prisoners,” who had earned support and praise from other inmates.
Ms Sam was convicted of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine and served three years of a more than 10-year prison sentence.
She went on to become a criminal justice advocate, and work with the Trump administration on reforms.
A real-estate investor in Florida who 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 served an eight-month prison sentence before being pardoned.
Lozada, originally from Cuba, was granted a full pardon after starting a pool cleaning business near Miami, Florida.
He was previously convicted of drug charges and served a 14-month sentence.
Joseph Martin Stephens
Stephens served 18 months in prison and was issued a full pardon after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm in 2008, a federal offense.
Andrew Barron Worden
Wordon, who runs an investment firm and a solar energy company, was convicted of fraud in 1998.
The White House said he “made mistakes in running an investment firm he founded.”
John Boultbee and Peter Atkinson
As executives at Hollinger International and associates of media tycoon Conrad Black, the two men were found guilty of three counts of mail fraud and each served a year in prison.
She was arrested for tax evasion in 2006 and the White House said she is a victim of sex trafficking who was forced into prostitution, before volunteering to help other victims.
Her pardon was also supported by a law enforcement agent who arrested her.
William 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 organisations.
Mr Kassouf pleaded guilty in 1989 to a federal tax offence. The White House said that since his conviction, he has been devoted to his church, fire department and works with charitable organisations.
The White House said Wade was convicted of multiple cyber-related offences and has “shown remorse and sought to make his community a safer place” before his pardon.
A posthumous pardon issued after Plaisance was convicted of conspiracy to import cocaine in 1987.
Prosecutors involved in the case did not object to pardon, the White House said.
Mr Rubashkin, an American businessman and the former CEO of Agriprocessors, was the first person to have their sentence commuted by Mr Trump.
He was sentenced to 27-years in prison for fraud, but following the pardon, was released with supervision.
An Israel-born Florida resident who was convicted in 2015 of conspiracy to distribute synthetic drugs acquired from China and was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment.
Mr Trump pardoned Mr Nahamani four years after.
Mr Suhl was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2007 on four counts of bribery, having been in charge of a behavioural health company that had increased fees for Medicare.
His sentence was commuted by Mr Trump.
Lenora Logan, Rashella Reed, Charles Tanner, John Bolen and Curtis McDonald
Five individuals whose sentences for drug and federal crimes were commuted by Mr Trump, having been advocated by Alice Marie Johnson.
Ms Johnson was fully pardoned for her own charges related to drug trafficking and went on to become an advocate for criminal justice reform.
Associated Press contributed information for this article
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