Trump pardons Lil Wayne, Bannon, several Upstate natives


GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)–As now former President Donald Trump left the White House, he also left behind dozens of pardons.

A few Upstate natives now have something in common with big names like Steve Bannon and Lil Wayne they’ve all been pardoned by Trump.

Pardon bringing new meaning to the lyrics of well known rapper Lil Wayne.

“Normally it’s literally the U.S. Attorneys who literally convict some people, that are like ok this is so unfair,” local attorney John Reckenbeil said.

He said although presidential pardons for famous names is largely a public relations stunt, a handful of Upstate names received their pardons appropriately

“The founders created the pardon power for clear fundamental unfairness,” Reckenbeil said.

Those receiving the pardons must have committed a federal crime.

“The pardon power specifically says in Article 2, Section 2 crimes against the United States,” Reckenbeil said.

Reckenbeil said Monstsho Eugene Vernon, who has been in prison for nearly two decades, is a prime example. Vernon served time for several armed bank robberies, where he used a bb gun to commit the crimes.

“He’s been incarcerated and he’s done well especially recovered from cancer those are the things that they look at,” Reckenbeil said.

Two others from the Upstate are Brian McSwain and David Rowland, both supported by Senator Lindsey Graham who said in a statement: “they have continually exhibited good character since their conviction.”

But of course, wealth and fame can play into pardons too.

“The precedent that we do not want a president to think that he is king or to act like one or to incite insurrection,” Reckenbeil said.

Specifically pointing to Trump’s pardon of Bannon as a reach.

“Alexander Hamilton wrote about this, they don’t want people being pardoned who were part of a conspiracy or part of doing things wrong that haven’t been tried and convicted,” Reckenbeil said.

Those people, he says, should go through the justice system.

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