Lil Wayne was among the 143 pardons and commutations issued by Donald Trump in the final hours of his presidency.
The Young Money rapper met with the president during a campaign stop in October at a time when Trump was trying to improve his standing with Black voters. He tweeted a photo with Trump and shared his support for the president’s criminal justice reform efforts, prompting backlash from some of his fans.
Just weeks later, Wayne was charged with illegally possessing a firearm after agents discovered a .45-caliber handgun during a search of his private plane in December 2019. He pleaded guilty and was facing up to 10 years in prison at a sentencing originally scheduled for later this month.
However, Wayne’s looming gun charge, which had been under investigation for nearly a year, was not the reason for his meeting with Trump, says his lawyer Bradford Cohen. In an interview with The New York Times, Cohen acknowledged that while it may have ultimately helped the pardon decision, it was not why Wayne supported Trump during his re-election campaign.
“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.”