Washington – President Donald Trump pardoned former chief strategist Steve Bannon as part of a flurry of clemency measures in the last hours of his White House that benefited more than 140 people, including rappers, former members of Congress and other allies of him and his family. .
But the list does not include Timothy Shea, A Castle Rock resident who, along with Bannon, has been charged with defrauding thousands of donors who believed their money would be used to fulfill Trump’s main campaign promise to build a wall along the southern border.
The last-minute pardon, announced on Wednesday morning, follows separate waves of pardons over the past month for Trump aides who were found guilty in the FBI investigation in Russia, as well as for the father of his brother-in-law. Taken together, the measures confirm the president’s willingness, throughout his four years in the White House, to display his constitutional powers in ways that challenge norms and openly help his friends and supporters.
To be sure, the last list was crowded with traditional candidates whose cases were advocated by criminal justice activists. A man who spent nearly 24 years in prison on drug and weapons charges but showed exemplary behavior behind bars, his sentence was commuted, as did a former Marine who was sentenced in 2000 in connection with a cocaine conviction.
But the names of Trump’s key allies emerged nonetheless.
Along with Bannon, other pardons included Elliot Broidy, a Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty last fall to a plot to pressure the Trump administration to drop an investigation into the looting of a Malaysian wealth fund, and Ken Corson, a friend of Trump’s son. -Law Jared Kushner who was accused last October of stalking online during a heated divorce.
Bannon’s pardon was particularly notable given that the prosecution was still in its infancy and any trial was months away. While pardons are traditionally seen as defendants faced with justice, often by spending at least some time in prison, the pardon eliminates prosecution and virtually eliminates any possibility of punishment.
Democratic Representative Adam Schiff said on Twitter: “Steve Bannon got a pardon from Trump after defrauding his supporters to pay for a wall Trump pledged that Mexico would pay.” “And if all this sounds crazy, it is because it is. Thank God we only have another 12 hours of this lair of thieves.”
And while the other presidents issued a controversial pardon at the end of their administration, perhaps no superior would have enjoyed using the power of clemency to benefit not only friends and acquaintances but also famous defendants and those supported by allies.
Wednesday’s list includes its share of high-profile suspects. They included rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, both of whom were convicted in Florida of weapons-related charges. Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter, has repeatedly expressed support for Trump and recently met the president on criminal justice issues. Other people on the list include Death Row Records co-founder Michael Harris, art dealer and New York art collector Hillel Nehmd.
Those receiving the pardon include former Rep. Rick Renzi, a Republican from Arizona who served three years on corruption, money laundering and other charges, and former Representative Duke Cunningham of California, who was convicted of accepting $ 2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors. Cunningham, who was released from prison in 2013, was granted a parole.
Trump has also commuted the prison sentence of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who spent nearly seven years behind bars on charges of extortion and bribery.
MORE: Castle Rock man along with former Trump advisor Steve Bannon charged with a Border Wall fundraising scheme
Bannon did not respond to questions on Tuesday.
Trump has already pardoned many of his aides and longtime supporters, including his former campaign chief, Paul Manafort. Charles Kushner, father-in-law; His longtime friend and advisor Roger Stone; And his former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn.
The voice of the conservative national and foreign affairs, Bannon – who served in the Navy and worked for Goldman Sachs and as a Hollywood producer before switching to politics – led the conservative Breitbart News before he was exploited to serve as CEO of Trump’s 2016 campaign. Critical final months.
He later served as chief strategist for the president during the tumultuous early days of the Trump administration and was at the forefront of many of its more controversial policies, including travel bans on several Muslim-majority countries.
But Bannon, who clashed with other senior advisers, was fired less than a year later. The split between him and Trump deepened after he was quoted in a 2018 book as critical remarks about some of Trump’s adult children. Bannon apologized and quickly stepped down as the Breitbart presidency. He and Trump have recently reconciled.
In August, he was towed from a luxury yacht off the coast of Connecticut and appeared before a judge in Manhattan, where he pleaded not guilty. When he emerged from the courtroom, Bannon took off his mask, smiled and waved to the news cameras. As he drove to the waiting car, he shouted, “This utter failure is to stop the people who want to build the wall.”
The organizers of the “We’re Building the Wall” group pictured themselves eager to help the president build a “big, beautiful” barrier along the US-Mexico border, as he promised during the 2016 campaign. They have raised more than $ 25 million from thousands of donors and pledged to use 100% of Funds in the project.
But according to the criminal charges, much of the money never made it to the wall. Instead, it was used to color the pockets of group members, including Bannon.
In December, a New York federal court judge rejected Xi’s request to move his trial to Colorado. An indictment alleged that Shea allowed other defendants, including Bannon, to transfer money through a shell company he controls so that they could conceal how donations were spent for the “We’re building the Wall” campaign.
Chia has lived for a long time in Castle Rock, where he owns a fledgling energy drink company called Winning Energy. The company’s boxes contain a cartoon image of Trump’s superhero and claim to contain “12 ounces. Of liberal tears.”