Former President Donald Trump, in one of his final acts as commander in chief before ceding power to President Joe Biden at noon Wednesday, granted a full pardon to Al Pirro, former husband of Fox News host Jeanine Pirro.
White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere made the announcement after Trump landed in Florida after departing Washington hours ahead of Biden’s inauguration.
Pirro, who once represented Trump as a real estate lawyer, served 11 months in prison after being convicted decades ago of conspiracy and tax evasion after prosecutors said he improperly deducted more than $1 million in personal expenses as business write-offs to reduce his tax bill. He and Jeanine Pirro, who hosts the Fox News show “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” divorced in 2013.
In the final hours of his presidency, Trump granted pardons to 73 individuals and commuted the sentences of an additional 70.
The full list of presidential pardons and commutations published on the White House’s website includes former White House chief strategist and ex-Breitbart chairman Steve Bannon, as well as rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and former Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy.
Individuals not on the list of pardons and commutations—but were frequently discussed on social media prior to the White House announcement—include WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, former CIA employee and whistleblower Edward Snowden, and Joe Exotic, a former zoo operator who was convicted on charges of animal abuse and an attempted murder-for-hire plot.
The pardon power applies to federal crimes and is one of the broadest powers available to a president. The decision to pardon is not reviewable by other branches of government and the president does not have to provide a reason for issuing a pardon.
Trump in his last week in office did not hold any public events, instead issuing a number of memorandums and executive orders, including ordering the declassification of previously confidential documents related to Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI’s investigation of his 2016 campaign.
In his farewell speech on Wednesday morning, Trump said he wished the incoming administration “great luck” and success.
“I will tell you that the future of this country has never been better. I wish the new administration great luck and great success. I think they’ll have great success. They have the foundation to do something really spectacular,” Trump said before he departed for Florida.
Trump told the audience that “you’re going to see incredible numbers coming in”—referring to the U.S. economy—if Biden leaves his policies “untouched.”
Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States at scaled-back ceremony in Washington that has been largely stripped of its usual pomp and circumstance, due both to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus as well as security concerns following the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.
“We’ll press forward with speed and urgency for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibilities, much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build, and much to gain,” he said after taking the oath.
After addressing the pandemic, Biden touched on his other priorities, including racism, climate change, and domestic terrorism, before calling for unity.
“My whole soul is in this, bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation and I ask every American to join me in this cause,” Biden said.
Ivan Pentchoukov, Jack Phillips, and Reuters contributed to this report.