Pardon me… It's more than just an expression. The power of the pardon is one of the many privileges that United States presidents have — one stroke of the pen can mean the difference between prison or freedom. More often than not, pardons are issued to people who aren't in the public eye. But that's not always the case — take Lil Wayne, for example. The rapper was very public with his support of 45th President Donald Trump, and his loyalty paid off. In Trump's final hours in the Oval Office, he gave a presidential pardon to the five-time Grammy winner. In November 2020, Wayne was charged with one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. The charge stems from an incident in December 2019 at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport in which federal agents searched a private plane and found a gold-plated handgun in Wayne's luggage. He faced up to 10 years in prison if he was convicted. Click through to see other famous faces who've enjoyed a presidential pardon or commutation.
Kodak Black served nearly half of his 48-month prison sentence before Donald Trump issued a pardon for him in the waning hours of his presidency. The rapper had pleaded guilty to a federal firearms charge following an incident in May 2019. He also admitted to lying about his criminal history while acquiring firearms. Just a few months before the pardon, XXL said that Kodak offered to donate $1 million to charity if Trump would use his power to pardon him before he left office.
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Patty Hearst, the granddaughter of American publishing magnate William Hearst, was kidnapped in 1974, and she was eventually brainwashed by her captors from the Symbionese Liberation Army. During that time, she committed several crimes and was caught on surveillance video carrying a military-style gun during a bank robbery. She was famously pictured holding a gun in front of the SLA's banner as well. Nineteen months after being kidnapped, she was arrested and later convicted of bank robbery. Her 35-year prison sentence was later reduced to seven years. President Jimmy Carter went on to commute her sentence, and President Bill Clinton fully pardoned her in 2001.
Teamsters union leader Jimmy Hoffa went to prison in 1967 after being convicted in two separate trials — in one trial he was sentenced to eight years for jury tampering, and in the other, he was sentenced to five years for for mail fraud and improper use of union funds. He only served a few years because President Richard Nixon pardoned him in December 1971. There are many who believe that Hoffa had a deal with Nixon that involved supporting the POTUS' re-election.
President Richard Nixon resigned from the White House in disgrace on Aug. 9, 1974, after the Watergate scandal, in which several men were arrested for breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel and attempting to place wiretaps and steal secret DNC papers. Nixon tried to silence the burglars with hush money, and his conversations were taped. The attempted coverup was damning. A month after he left office, his successor, President Gerald Ford, pardoned Nixon. Nixon, Ford said, had "suffered enough" and felt a pardon was for the good of the country.
Peter Yarrow of the famed group Peter, Paul and Mary served three months in prison in 1970. The singer had been convicted on a morals charge involving a 14-year-old girl. (According to reports, she came to his hotel room seeking an autograph. He answered the door naked and made sexual advances, but did not suggest intercourse or engage in it.) In 1981, President Jimmy Carter granted him a pardon.
John Forté co-wrote and produced several songs on The Fugees' Grammy-winning album "The Score" in 1996. He was even nominated for a Grammy for his work on the massively popular album. In 2010, he was arrested at Newark Airport on drug charges. John, prosecutors said, accepted a briefcase containing $1.4 million worth of liquid cocaine. He was later charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to distribute. He was sentenced to a minimum of 14 years in prison. In November 2008, President George W. Bush commuted the sentence, and John was released from prison four weeks later.
Roger Stone has a place in pop culture history due to his involvement in several Republican presidential campaigns, including Donald Trump's. He's written five books and was the subject of Netflix's "Get Me Roger Stone" documentary. He often beamed at his unofficial title of being a "dirty trickster." In January 2019, Special Counsel Robert Mueller revealed the political strategist had been indicted on one count of obstruction, five counts of false statements and one count of witness tampering (all of which which were tied to the investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election). Eleven months later, a jury convicted him, and a judge sentenced him to 40 months in prison. In July 2020, just days before Stone was set to begin his prison sentence, Trump commuted his sentence. That December, Trump officially pardoned his ex-advisor.
After Barack Obama was elected president, he of course gave up his seat in the U.S. Senate. As Obama was from Illinois, the state's then-Governor Rod Blagojevich was tasked with filing the seat. On June 27, 2011, the former governor, who had just a year prior starred on "Celebrity Apprentice," was convicted of soliciting bribes to fill Obama's vacant seat. In 2020, after Rod had served eight years of his 14-year sentence, President Donald Trump — his former "Celebrity Apprentice" boss — commuted the sentence.
Willie McCovey is a baseball legend, especially with the San Francisco Giants, whom he played for for 19 seasons. He's in the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1996, he pleaded guilty to tax fraud, as he failed to report income made from sports card shows and memorabilia sales for a few years. In 2017, President Barack Obama pardoned him.