As Oddsmakers Predicted, Lil Wayne Pardoned, But Not Joe Exotic, R. Kelly, Bill Cosby

Posted on: January 20, 2021, 08:36h. 

Last updated on: January 20, 2021, 11:18h.

In the final hours of his presidency, Donald Trump issued pardons and commuted sentences for 143 individuals. They included numerous celebrities, none more noteworthy than rapper Lil Wayne.

Lil Wayne pardon Trump odds
Rapper Lil Wayne, seen here, will not face federal prison time after receiving a presidential pardon. The rapper was one of 143 people to receive clemency from outgoing President Donald Trump. (Image: Twitter)

Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., 38, better known as Lil Wayne, pleaded guilty last December to illegal gun possession. He was facing up to 10 years in federal prison, the harsh sentence a consequence of previous run-ins with the law.

Trump wiped clean Lil Wayne’s federal charges and guilty plea. Bettors saw this coming.

Overseas sportsbooks had clemency odds on a slew of people, ranging from rappers and politicians to Jared Fogle, the former Subway guy.

As for Lil Wayne, the odds were -450 for the president issuing him a pardon, which implies an 81.82 percent chance. To win $100 on Wayne being pardoned, a bettor needed to risk $450.   

“Brett Berish of Sovereign Brands, who supports a pardon for Mr. Carter, describes him as ‘trustworthy, kind-hearted and generous.’ Mr. Carter has exhibited this generosity through a commitment to a variety of charities, including donations to research hospitals and a host of food banks,” a White House statement read.

Trump’s most controversial pardon was for his former aid, Steve Bannon. The 67-year-old was facing federal charges of using political campaign donations to help build the president’s wall on the US-Mexico border. Bannon’s odds of receiving a pardon were good at -300.

Celebs Petition President

Lil Wayne wasn’t the only rapper to receive Trump’s support. In 2019, Kodak Black, 23, accepted a plea deal and was sentenced to 46 months in prison. The punishment was the result of Black making a false statement on a federal form. Prosecutors said he lied about his previous criminal record to purchase a firearm.

Black has served more than half of his sentence. The remaining time has been abolished on a Trump commutation. Kodak Black’s odds of receiving a pardon were even money at -100.   

Numerous other celebrities were not as fortunate as Lil Wayne and Kodak Black. Oddsmakers had the lines long for pardons for “Tiger King” Joe Exotic (+125), Suge Knight (+300), Roman Polanski (+2000), Fogle (+5000), R. Kelly (+7500), and Bill Cosby (+15000).

The longest line offered was for El Chapo, the convicted Mexican drug lord worth an estimated $4 billion. Chapo is serving a life sentence. His odds of receiving clemency from Trump were at +50000 (implied odds 0.2 percent).

No Trump Self Pardons

There was plenty of talk around DC in Trump’s final days that he might issue himself a pardon. Constitutional scholars have mixed views regarding the legality of such an act.

PredictIt’s market asking whether Trump would self-pardon had “Yes” shares at 43 cents a week ago. Today, they’re at just three cents.

The president also did not publicly announce that anyone in his immediate family received executive grants of clemency to combat potential federal charges in the future.

However, presidential pardons can be kept secret. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell doesn’t believe the White House clemency list is complete.