Trump pardons Lil Wayne, Kodak Black and others with South Florida ties

Pompano Beach rapper Kodak Black had his sentence was commuted by outgoing President Donald Trump.

MIAMI – When outgoing President Donald Trump released his list of pardons overnight, they included a handful of people with South Florida ties, the most notable of which are rappers Kodak Black of Pompano Beach and Lil Wayne, who owns a home here.

Howard Srebnick, Lil Wayne’s attorney, says his client (legal name Dwayne Michael Carter Jr.) was relieved.

“Wayne is relieved, he is grateful and he is really eager to making music and to giving back to the community through all the charity work he’s done through many years,” Srebnick said.

In his final hours as president, Trump granted clemency to more than a hundred people.

Lil Wayne was granted a full pardon. A little more than a year ago, he was found carrying a loaded gun while traveling to Miami from California. He pled guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in court last month and was scheduled to be sentenced in March.

“The weapon was a gold-plated firearm, there were no bullets in the chamber,” Srebnick said. “It was a collector’s item. It was a Father’s Day gift. He had never operated the weapon.”

Kodak Black, whose legal name is Bill Kapri, was sentenced to more than three years in prison on weapons charges in November 2019. His sentence was commuted.

The White House praised his charitable contributions, saying he’s a community leader.

A number of notable names lobbied for Kodak, including reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, the Baltimore Ravens quarterback who also grew up in Pompano Beach.

Trump also granted a full pardon to 86-year-old Abel Holtz, a former banker and philanthropist.

In 1995 Holtz pled guilty to one count of impeding a grand jury and was sentenced to 45 days in prison. He told Local 10 News over the phone that he was surprised by the pardon but is obviously happy about it.

A children’s hospital at Jackson Memorial Hospital and a street are named after him.

Miami developer Robert Zangrillo also received a full pardon. He was charged in the high-profile nationwide college admissions bribery scheme that included actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

Federal prosecutors in Boston accused Zangrillo of paying $250,000 to get his daughter into the University of Southern California as a transfer in 2018. The White House said in a statement explaining its decision that Zangrillo’s daughter “did not have others take standardized tests for her and she is currently earning a 3.9 GPA” at USC.

A commuted sentence was given to Palm Beach eye doctor Salomon Melgen, who is serving a 17-year federal sentence for healthcare fraud.

A prison sentence was previously commuted for former Miami Beach businessman Philip Esformes. He was convicted on 20 criminal counts in a billion-dollar medicare fraud scheme, one of the biggest such cases in U.S. history.

About the Authors:

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.

David Selig is the Digital Executive Producer at WPLG, overseeing