Donald Trump pardons Lil Wayne and Steve Bannon snubs Joe Exotic

Miu von Furstenberg 4 Min Read
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President Trump on Wednesday (Jan. 20, 2021) granted clemency to more than 100 people in one of his final acts as commander-in-chief, including his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon.

Trump announced a wave of pardons and commutations shortly after midnight on Wednesday. Bannon, rapper Lil Wayne, GOP fundraiser Elliot Broidy and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick were among the notable figures to receive clemency, along with dozens of lower-profile individuals whose cases were raised by criminal justice reform advocates.

Lil Wayne 2015 iHeartRadio Music Festival - Night 1 - Show
Lil Wayne performs onstage at the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Festival at MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 18, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Getty Images)

Trump granted clemency to 143 individuals in total, just hours before leaving office: 73 received pardons, while 70 were granted commutations.

The Bannon pardon was perhaps the most surprising of the batch, given the former Breitbart News editor had a high-profile falling out with the Trump family after denigrating Donald Trump Jr. in Michael Wolff’s 2018 book, Fire and Fury.

“Mr. Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in announcing Bannon's pardon. Wow. What a load of crap that is.

Steve Bannon Interviewed At The News Xchange Conference
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon, takes part in the News Xchange 2018 conference on November 14, 2018 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Mr Steve Bannon faced protests as he arrived to address an international media event in Edinburgh. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Bannon was a top adviser on Trump’s 2016 campaign and served as the chief White House strategist for roughly seven months. He was arrested and charged last August with defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors who contributed to a fundraising campaign for a private border wall.

Joe Exotic fails to receive pardon from Donald Trump

Not among the list of 143 individuals was Joe Exotic. Private investigator Eric Love, who is part of Exotic's legal team, said Tuesday evening he was confident the ‘Tiger King' star would be receiving a pardon before the president's term ends Wednesday.

“We will be standing by waiting for President Trump’s confirmation of the Tiger King Joe Exotic,” Love said from inside a limousine waiting to pick Exotic up from a Texas prison if he was pardoned and released.

Joe Exotic mug shot

“Much love to the fans. Thank you so much for all the support. God bless. We’ll see you as soon as we get the pardon.”

Love, and the stretch Dodge limo ready to drive him away from prison, were standing by all day Tuesday. Supporters lined up outside the Federal Medical Facility, hoping to see him released.

Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in a murder-for-hire plot that targeted his chief rival, Carole Baskin. The story was featured on the Netflix documentary miniseries Tiger King.

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