President Donald Trump pardoned Lil Wayne hours before leaving office as part of a wave of last-minute pardons and commutations.
The rapper, born Dwayne Michael Carter, was arrested in December 2019 while disembarking a private plane in Miami and carrying a loaded, gold-plated semiautomatic handgun, as well as various drugs. He pleaded guilty to federal charges of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a felon in December in Florida court. His sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 28, and he faced up to 10 years in prison.
Carter voiced his support for Trump during the election, and the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, reportedly pushed for a pardon for the musician. Kushner, Trump’s daughter Ivanka, and White House counsel Pat Cipollone reportedly consulted with Trump heavily on his choices of whom to pardon.
Trump pardoned nearly 150 others Tuesday, including former chief strategist Steve Bannon and Republican high-dollar fundraiser Elliott Broidy. He began calling clemency recipients Monday night, according to The New York Times.
Though speculation loomed that Trump would pardon his sons Eric and Don Jr., Kushner, and even himself, he has so far not done so on his last full day in office, nor has he declared plans to. No U.S. president has ever pardoned himself. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office is probing Trump’s company for possible criminal activity, and Bannon was charged with fraud over a campaign to collect financing for Trump’s pet project the U.S.-Mexico border wall. He pleaded not guilty.
In the past, Trump has not hesitated to issue controversial pardons to allies, including to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, and to his longtime pal Roger Stone.