Lil Wayne was among the 143 pardons and commutations issued by Donald Trump in the final hours of his presidency.
The Young Money rapper met with the president during a campaign stop in October at a time when Trump was trying to improve his standing with Black voters. He tweeted a photo with Trump and shared his support for the president’s criminal justice reform efforts, prompting backlash from some of his fans.
Just weeks later, Wayne was charged with illegally possessing a firearm after agents discovered a .45-caliber handgun during a search of his private plane in December 2019. He pleaded guilty and was facing up to 10 years in prison at a sentencing originally scheduled for later this month.
Just had a great meeting with @realdonaldtrump @potus besides what he’s done so far with criminal reform, the platinum plan is going to give the community real ownership. He listened to what we had to say today and assured he will and can get it done. 🤙🏾 pic.twitter.com/Q9c5k1yMWf
— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) October 29, 2020
However, Wayne’s looming gun charge, which had been under investigation for nearly a year, was not the reason for his meeting with Trump, says his lawyer Bradford Cohen. In an interview with The New York Times, Cohen acknowledged that while it may have ultimately helped the pardon decision, it was not why Wayne supported Trump during his re-election campaign.
“It never hurts that someone gets a full understanding of an individual when they’re just looking at a piece of paper,” said Cohen. “In hindsight, I guess it worked out.”
Cohen, who applied for a pardon right after Wayne was charged in November, said that his client was “thrilled” with the president’s decision. Wayne’s application was supported in letters from NFL legend Deion Sanders and Brett Berish, the CEO of Sovereign Brands.
Cohen, who represented Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, also successfully advocated for Kodak Black. The “Tunnel Vision” rapper was serving a 46-month sentence for falsifying paperwork to obtain a firearm, but his sentence was commuted. He could be released from a federal prison outside of Chicago as soon as today.
Taking to Twitter, Kodak thanked Trump for commuting his sentence. “I Want To Thank The President @RealDonaldTrump For His Commitment To Justice Reform And Shortening My Sentence,” he tweeted. “I Also Want To Thank Everyone For Their Support And Love. It Means More Than You Will Ever Know. I Want To Continue Giving Back, Learning And Growing.”
I Want To Thank The President @RealDonaldTrump For His Commitment To Justice Reform And Shortening My Sentence. I Also Want To Thank Everyone For Their Support And Love.
It Means More Than You Will Ever Know. I Want To Continue Giving Back, Learning And Growing. @DanScavino
— Kodak Black (@KodakBlack1k) January 20, 2021