Death Row Records co-founder Michael ‘Harry-O’ Harris pardoned by Trump

His pardon was confirmed during Trump's final day in office

Death Row Records co-founder Michael ‘Harry-O’ Harris has received a pardon from Donald Trump after spending more than three decades behind bars.

Harris is set for release from a California prison after spending 32 years behind bars for attempted murder and cocaine trafficking.

Snoop Dogg, who was signed to Harris’ record label in the 1990s, reportedly sought the help of Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and a selection of justice reform campaigners to lobby Trump for the pardon.

Advertisement

According to the Daily Mail, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows personally advised Trump against signing the pardon, but the president was convinced by his family.
Snoop Dogg, who rapped under Harris’ infamous record label in the 1990s alongside Dr Dre and Tupac Shakur, enlisted Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and justice reform campaigners to convince Trump.

Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg speaking at the BET Hip Hop Awards 2020. Credit: 2020HHA/Getty Images via Getty Images

Snoop is said to have stepped in after Harris’ legal team unsuccessfully called for an early compassionate release due to the risks of COVID-19 within prison.

“The president knows about it. I’ve spoken with Ivanka [Trump] and I’ve spoken with Jared [Kushner], and I’ve been told that President Trump is aware of the case and has been reviewing it,” criminal justice reform advocate Alice Johnson told the Daily Beast.

Johnson’s own life sentence for drug trafficking was previously pardoned by Trump in 2018, after her case was brought to his attention by Kim Kardashian.

Weldon Angelos, another prisoner pardoned by Trump, is said to have brought the case to the attention of Johnson after discussing it with Snoop.

Advertisement

During his time behind bars, Harris has reportedly reinvented himself as an activist and pushed for prison reform.

Confirming the pardon, the Trump administration wrote on the White House website: “Mr. Harris has had an exemplary prison record for three decades. He is a former entrepreneur and has mentored and taught fellow prisoners how to start and run businesses.

“He has completed courses towards business and journalism degrees. Upon his release, Mr. Harris will have a meaningful place of employment and housing with the support of his family.”

Harris helped create and finance Death Row Records alongside Suge Knight in 1992.

Yesterday also saw Trump confirming that he has pardoned Lil Wayne and commuted the prison sentence of Kodak Black.

Back in December, Wayne pled guilty to a federal firearms charge relating to a December 2019 incident, in which he was arrested for illegal possession of a handgun during a flight on his private jet from California to Florida. He had been set to appear in court on January 28, facing a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Kodak, meanwhile, is currently serving a 46-month prison sentence on federal weapons charges. He was sentenced back in November 2019 after being found guilty of falsifying information on background forms while attempting to purchase firearms.

Advertisement
Advertisement