‘I Think They Had a Very Strong Connection’
Lil Wayne’s controversial public support of Donald Trump may have led to a legal reprieve for the rapper, whose legal case was wiped away when his name landed on a list of pardons and commutations the former president carried out during his last day in office.
Already a convicted felon, Wayne received a pardon while facing 10 years in prison at sentencing after pleading guilty late last year to federal charges of possessing a loaded weapon on a private jet bound for Miami.
Kodak Black, who had served less than half of a 46-month federal prison sentence that he received in November 2019 for lying on background paperwork while attempting to buy guns, saw the remainder of his sentence commuted by Trump.
During the waning days of the 2020 presidential campaign, Wayne publicly showed his approval for Trump, taking a photo last October with the president and touting his criminal reform efforts and actor Ice Cube’s “platinum plan” to bring wealth and upward mobilization to the Black community.
Some felt Wayne’s show of approval may have been ploy to encourage Trump to pardon him, however, his lawyer, Bradford Cohen, who arranged the meeting between the two, disputes that, insisting it was just benign encounter that had a fortuitous outcome, according to Billboard.
“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.”
“I think they had a very strong connection,” he continued. “He’s in the entertainment world. He’s got a style that’s similar in terms of the way that he carries himself, and a lot of rappers and people in the industry relate to that.”
Cohen, who also acted as Kodak Black’s attorney, pushed hard to appeal for pardons for both men, according to TMZ. Cohen made the case that Wayne only had one previous conviction, for which he already served considerable time, and as a nonthreatening figure should not be subjected to the possible 10-year sentence.
The pardon announcement described Wayne’s philanthropic gestures, stating that “Mr. Carter has exhibited this generosity through commitment to a variety of charities, including donations to research hospitals and a host of foodbanks.” The statement also mentioned his other charitable activities, “such as providing educational resources to students and families of fallen law enforcement officers and the underprivileged.”
Deion Sanders also offered a testament in support of Wayne, calling him “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.”
Wayne took to Twitter to express his gratitude, writing, “I want to thank President Trump for recognizing that I have so much more to give to my family, my art, and my community.”
He also recognized Cohen “for working so diligently to secure another chance for me.”