Trump apologizes to Steve Bannon, Elliott Broidy and others on the White Home final evening
President Donald Trump speaks at a Make America Great Again rally at the Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia.
Leah Millis | Reuters
President Donald Trump issued dozens of pardons on his last night at the White House, including one to his former campaign manager and ex-White House adviser Steve Bannon, who was accused of cheating on donors to allegedly close a border wall build Mexico.
Others who received some of Trump’s 73 pardons were great Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy, who pleaded guilty to acting as an unregistered foreign agent last fall, and rapper Lil Wayne, who pleaded guilty to a gun charge last month
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who has served a 28-year prison sentence for fraud, has been commuted by Trump, as has Eliyahu Weinstein, who had 16 years left, in a case where he cheated hundreds serving a sentence of millions of dollars from victims in a New Jersey-based Ponzi program.
Another rapper, Kodak Black, who served a three-year prison sentence on gun charges, was also sentenced to prison. A total of 67 other people were convicted by Trump.
Trump did not apologize to himself or any of his adult children despite speculating he would, despite no pending federal criminal charges against either of them.
Bannon, former head of the conservative news site Breitbart, was arrested with several co-defendants in New York on federal charges last year but was still on trial in this case, where he was free on a $ 5 million bond.
He and the other defendants are accused of defrauding donors to a nonprofit group that allegedly intended to use the money to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, a political obsession with Trump and many of his supporters.
Another pardon was Anthony Levandowski, a former engineer at Google’s self-driving car unit, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison last August for stealing more than 14,000 Google files before leaving the company to join Uber’s robocar efforts.
The judge in Levandowski’s case called it “the greatest trade secret crime I have ever seen”.
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon leaves Manhattan federal court after his wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy hearing on August 20, 2020 in New York.
Andrew Kelly | Reuters
Kenneth Kurson, a confidante of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, also received a pardon. Kurson, who was once the editor of a Kushner-owned newspaper in New York, was charged in Brooklyn federal court last year with cyberstalking and harassment of three people, including a former friend whom he blamed for breaking up his marriage.
Another recipient of a pardon was the conservative politician Paul Erickson, a former friend of the secret Kremlin agent Maria Butina. Erickson was sentenced to 7 years in prison last July for wire fraud and money laundering.
The pardons were the third major group of pardons Trump has issued to Joe Biden, who is due to be inaugurated as president on Wednesday, since losing his election in November.
In December, Trump pardoned the gallery of an associated criminal, including his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, Republican political agent and long-time Trump friend Roger Stone, his daughter Ivanka’s father-in-law Charles Kushner, and former campaign advisor George Papadopoulos.
Others Trump pardoned last month included four former Blackwater USA guards convicted of the murder of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2007, disgraced ex-GOP Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins, and Philips Esformes, a Florida health facility owner convicted of prosecution said it was the largest healthcare fraud ever charged by the Justice Department.
Presidential pardons only apply to federal criminal convictions. Presidents do not have the power to excuse people for state crimes.
Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, is currently under criminal investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
The investigation, which originally focused on how the company recorded hush money payments to two women who claimed to have sex with Trump – which denies their allegations – has since been expanded to include questions about how the Trump organization values real estate wealth.