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Donald Trump pardons Steve Bannon and Lil Wayne hours before leaving office
20 January 2021, 05:36 | Updated: 20 January 2021, 07:10
Donald Trump has pardoned his former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and rapper Lil Wayne as one of his final acts as US President before Joe Biden is inaugurated later today.
The outgoing-US President pardoned or commuted the sentences of 143 people early on Wednesday, just hours before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Bannon had been charged along with three others with duping thousands of investors who believed their money would be used to fulfil Mr Trump's chief campaign promise to build a wall along the southern border.
Instead, he allegedly diverted over a million dollars, paying a salary to one campaign official and personal expenses for himself.
During his campaign before becoming President, Trump claimed that Mexico would pay for the construction of the border wall. It didn't.
Rapper Lil Wayne had pleaded guilty last month to possessing a loaded, gold-plated handgun when his chartered jet landed in Miami in December 2019.
He was facing up to 10 years in prison for the crime, but has now been given a full presidential pardon.
Trump had already pardoned a slew of long-time associates and supporters, including his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law; his long-time friend and adviser Roger Stone; and his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
There had been rumours that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may have also been in line for a pardon, but he was left off of the list when it was published in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Joe Exotic, star if Netflix's Tiger King, was also hoping for a pardon and his supporters had even rented a limo for him to leave prison in, but his name was left off the list.
Bannon led the conservative Breitbart News before being chosen to serve as chief executive of Mr Trump's campaign in its critical final months, when he pushed a scorched earth strategy that included highlighting the stories of former president Bill Clinton's accusers.
After the election, he served as chief strategist during the turbulent early months of Mr Trump's administration.