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Donald Trump released a statement detailing dozens of pardons in his final full day as president of the United States on Tuesday. One thing that stood out in the sports/entertainment world was that Deion Sanders — the NFL legend and current coach of Jackson State football — lobbied for the rapper Lil’ Wayne (real name Dwayne Michael Carter Jr.) to get pardoned from weapons charges. Here is what the White House wrote about Carter’s pardon:
Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. – President Trump granted a full pardon to Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., also known as “Lil Wayne.” Mr. Carter pled guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, owing to a conviction over 10 years ago. Brett Berish of Sovereign Brands, who supports a pardon for Mr. Carter, describes him as “trustworthy, kind-hearted and generous.” Mr. Carter has exhibited this generosity through commitment to a variety of charities, including donations to research hospitals and a host of foodbanks. Deion Sanders, who also wrote in support of this pardon, calls Mr. Wayne “a provider for his family, a friend to many, a man of faith, a natural giver to the less fortunate, a waymaker, [and] a game changer.”
Skeptics will wonder if this pardon was a quid pro quo for the rapper’s endorsement of Trump’s reelection.
Other figures tangentially connected to the world of sports who got pardoned were Casey Urlacher, brother of Trump supporter Brian Urlacher, who had been implicated in an offshore gambling ring, and famed sports bettor Billy Walters, who was convicted of insider trading. Phil Mickelson — who was linked to Walters’ insider trading case — was involved in lobbying for Walters’ pardon:
William Walters – President Trump commuted the sentence of William Walters. This commutation is supported by former Majority Leader Harry Reid, former Governor Jim Gibbons, former Representative Shelley Berkley, former Clark County Sheriff William Young, former Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, numerous professional golfers including Butch Harmon, David Feherty, Peter Jacobsen, and Phil Mickelson, and former 60 minutes correspondent Lara Logan. Mr. Walters was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for insider trading. Since his conviction, Mr. Walters has served nearly 4 years of his prison sentence and has paid $44 million in fines, forfeitures, and restitution. In addition to his established reputation in the sports and gaming industry, Mr. Walters is well known for his philanthropic efforts and was previously named Las Vegas’ Philanthropist of the Year.
It will be interesting to see if more pardons than what have been made public emerge as the weeks and potentially even months progress.