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Donald Trump pardons 143 people in final hours: who are they?

The Republican president that claimed he was serious on law and order in the US has issued a long list of reprieves for criminal friends and those under investigation.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 22, 2017 US President Donald Trump (L) congratulates Senior Counselor to the President Stephen Bannon during the swearing-in of senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. - President Don

In his final few hours in office, US President Donald Trump - who has consistently bellowed from every rooftop that he is the hardest ever on law and order - has issued a flurry of presidential pardons and commutations. Among the 143 people on Wednesday’s list was his former campaign adviser Steve Bannon as well as rappers, financiers and lobbyists.

It's, as they say, not what you know but who you know...

Trump pardoned list: some of those avoiding punishment or investigation

Steve Bannon

Bannon, 67, was a key adviser in Trump's 2016 presidential run. He was charged last year with swindling Trump supporters over an effort to raise private funds to build the president's wall on the US-Mexico border. He has pleaded not guilty.

White House officials had advised Trump against pardoning Bannon, who left the Trump administration in late 2017. The two men have lately rekindled their relationship as Trump sought support for his unproven claims of voter fraud, an official familiar with the situation said.

Freedom | May 22, 2018 Steve Bannon, former strategic adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump.
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Freedom | May 22, 2018 Steve Bannon, former strategic adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump.MICHAL CIZEKAFP

Elliott Broidy

Broidy, a major Republican Party fundraiser, pleaded guilty in October to acting as an unregistered foreign agent, admitting to accepting money to secretly lobby the Trump administration for Chinese and Malaysian interests.

Broidy held finance posts in Trump’s 2016 campaign and on his inaugural committee.

Prosecutors alleged Broidy received millions of dollars in payments from an unnamed foreign national to try to arrange the end of a US investigation into billions of dollars embezzled from 1MDB, a Malaysian government investment fund.

Kwame Kilpatrick

The former Detroit mayor was sentenced in 2013 to 28 years in prison following his conviction on two dozen charges including racketeering, bribery and extortion from a conspiracy, which prosecutors said had worsened the city’s financial crisis.

Kilpatrick, 50, once seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party, received one of the longest corruption sentences ever handed to a major US politician.

Pardon | October 28, 2008 former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (C) appears in Wayne County Circuit Court for his sentencing in Detroit, Michigan.
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Pardon | October 28, 2008 former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (C) appears in Wayne County Circuit Court for his sentencing in Detroit, Michigan.BILL PUGLIANOAFP

Kilpatrick, who was mayor from 2002 to 2008, extorted bribes from contractors who wanted to get or keep Detroit city contracts, prosecutors said.

Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne, 38, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter, pleaded guilty in federal court in December to illegally possessing a firearm and faced up to 10 years in prison. He was scheduled to be sentenced in March in Florida.

A year earlier, the Grammy winner was found with a loaded, gold-plated .45-caliber handgun in his baggage aboard a private plane that had landed at an executive airport near Miami. A previous felony conviction made it illegal for the rapper to have the weapon or ammunition.

On Oct. 29, Wayne tweeted a picture of himself with Trump following what he called a "great meeting" with the president.

Rapper Kodak Black

Black, 23, who was born Bill Kahan Kapri, is in federal prison for making a false statement to buy a firearm, and released the album "Bill Israel" from behind bars.

Black pleaded guilty in August 2019, and three months later was sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison. He is seeking compassionate release.

In a since-deleted tweet in November, Black promised to spend $1 million on charity if the president released him, the hip-hop magazine XXL reported.

Sholam Weiss

Weiss was convicted of bilking $125 million from the National Heritage Life Insurance Co and its elderly policyholders. He fled the United States and was sentenced in absentia in 2000 to 845 years in prison, but he was eventually extradited from Austria.

Weiss, 66, is at a US penitentiary in Pennsylvania, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Trump lawyers from his first impeachment, Alan Dershowitz and Jay Sekulow, sent letters to the White House in support of Weiss.

Anthony Levandowski

Levandowski, a former Google engineer, pleaded guilty to stealing secret technology related to self-driving cars from the company before becoming the head of Uber Technologies Inc's rival unit.

“biggest trade secret crime I have ever seen”

Judge on Anthony Levandowski

In August, a judge in San Francisco sentenced Levandowski to 18 months in prison but said he could enter custody once the covid-19 pandemic has subsided.

The judge, William Alsup, who has been involved in Silicon Valley litigation for nearly five decades, described Levandowski’s conviction as the “biggest trade secret crime I have ever seen.”