President Trump pardons rapper Lil Wayne, commutes Kodak Black's sentence

The award-winning rapper, whose real name is Wayne Michael Carter Jr., was to be sentenced later this month for felony gun possession. Another rapper, Kodak Black, gets a commuted sentence.

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Leslie Katz
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Rapper rapper Lil Wayne was expected to be sentenced later this month on a gun charge.

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President Donald Trump has granted a full pardon to rapper Lil Wayne, who last month plead guilty to felony gun possession and faced up to 10 years in prison. The singer/songwriter/producer, whose real name is Wayne Michael Carter Jr., was found carrying a gold-plated handgun in his luggage on a private flight to South Florida. 

Wayne's sentencing hearing had been scheduled for Jan. 28.

Carter's pardon was one of a flurry of pardons and commuted sentences issued by the chief executive during his final hours in office before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. In total, Trump granted pardons to 73 people, including former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of defrauding donors, as well as ex-Uber and Google self-driving-car engineer Anthony Levandowski, who plead guilty to stealing trade secrets. 

Some pardons allegedly come with a price tag of $2 million, The New York Times reported Sunday.

In addition to pardons, Trump commuted the sentences of an additional 70 people. The commutations include one for singer/songwriter Bill K. Kapri, better known as Kodak Black. He was sentenced to 46 months in prison for making a false statement on a federal document when trying to procure firearms from a federally licensed firearms dealer and has served nearly half of his sentence. 

"Before his conviction and after reaching success as a recording artist, Kodak Black became deeply involved in numerous philanthropic efforts," reads a statement from the White House announcing the raft of last-minute executive actions. "In fact, he has committed to supporting a variety of charitable efforts, such as providing educational resources to students and families of fallen law enforcement officers and the underprivileged." 

The statement also points to Lil Wayne's charitable efforts. Former NFL star and football coach Deion Sanders wrote in support of the rapper's application for a pardon, calling the musician "a provider for his family, a friend to many, a man of faith, a natural giver to the less fortunate, a waymaker, [and] a game changer."

During last year's presidential campaign, Lil Wayne tweeted a photo of himself with Trump, saying he had a "great meeting" with the president and supported his criminal justice reform program and economic plan for African Americans. 

Many consider the Grammy Award-winning Lil Wayne to be one of the most influential hip hop artists of his generation and one of the greatest rappers ever.