ST. PAUL — Two Minnesotans convicted of drug offenses were granted clemency by outgoing President Donald Trump in one of his final acts as commander-in-chief.
John Harold Wall, convicted in 1992, was given a full pardon by the president. Cassandra Ann Kasowski, 46, had her sentence commuted.
The two figure among the 143 individuals who Trump either pardoned or gave commutations to on his last day in office. Past presidents have similarly issued flurries of pardons when departing from the White House.
Trump has previously and notably used his presidential pardoning powers, which extend only to federal crimes, to grant clemency to allies including political consultant Roger Stone, former campaign advisor and retired U.S. lieutenant general Michael Flynn and former campaign chair Paul Manafort. All three pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the federal investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian foreign nationals.
A pardon for another Trump confidant, right-wing media executive and former White House strategist Stephen Bannon, was also announced Wednesday, Jan. 20. Bannon had been charged with defrauding donors who gave to a private effort to fund Trump's border wall that he helped organize after leaving the Trump administration.
Other notable individuals pardoned by Trump on Wednesday include former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and rapper Lil Wayne.
Wall, who according to media reports resides in Prior Lake, Minn., has been out of federal prison since November 1996. He was sentenced to a 60-month stay plus four years of supervised release for aiding and abetting the possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.
In a statement, the White House said Wall's pardon was supported by former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and former United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota Andrew M. Luger, as well as the Office of the Pardon Attorney.
For her involvement in a methamphetamine ring in 2014, Kasowski, of Moorhead, Minn., was given an 18-year sentence, which she recently was able to serve at home under an act of Congress that released some federal inmates from prison because of the coronavirus pandemic. Kasowski's husband Al Owen Johnson, 45, received a sentence of the same length for his participation in the ring.
The White House referred to Kasowski as an "exemplary inmate" and noted in its statement her participation in the federal prison system's labor and dog training programs. She plans to spend time with her son and seek employment upon release, the White House said.