What just happened? As his presidency comes to an end, Donal Trump has pardoned 73 people while another 70 have had their sentences commuted. Despite speculation that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Silk Road’s Ross Ulbricht would be granted clemency, neither made the list.
NSA whistleblower Assange, currently serving a 50-week sentence in London’s Belmarsh prison for jumping bail in 2012, avoided extradition to America earlier this month. He is wanted in the US for violation of the Espionage Act of 1917.
Assange, still wanted by the US
One of Assange’s unlikely supporters is actress Pamela Anderson. The former Baywatch star claims to have Trump’s ear and recently said the President was considering a pardon for the Australian national. But Assange wasn’t one of those receiving executive grants of clemency.
Last month, a report from the Daily Beast stated that Trump had expressed sympathy for Ross Ulbricht. The founder of notorious dark web drug marketplace Silk Road is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole; a punishment many say outweighs the crime. Silk Road’s largest drug seller received ten years, while other site admins were sentenced to between 17 months and six and a half years.
Anthony Levandowski will be celebrating today
Like Assange, Ulbricht never received any pardon from Trump. Some of those who did include former advisor Steve Bannon, rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, and Anthony Levandowski. For those who don’t remember, the self-driving car engineer pleaded guilty to one count of stealing trade secrets from Google.
Levandowski founded driverless freight truck startup, Otto, after leaving Google-owned Waymo, which was later sold to Uber. He admitted taking 14,000 files from his former employer, including a sensitive document that outlined Waymo’s plans, metrics, and technological solutions for its autonomous car project. He received 18 months in prison, but the sentence wasn’t set to begin until the pandemic eased.
Last month, Trump pardoned former US congressman Duncan Hunter, who pleaded guilty to the misuse of over $250,000 of campaign funds on personal expenses, including $1,500 on Steam games.
Here is the full list of Donald Trump’s pardons and commutations.