Trump Pardons Cronies and Celebs Hours Before Leaving D.C.

In one of his last acts as president, Donald Trump pardoned cronies and celebrities—including strategist Steve Bannonfundraiser Elliott Broidy, and rapper Lil Wayne—hours before he was set to leave the White House.

Just before 1 a.m. Wednesday, the long-awaited list was released with pardons for 73 people and commutations for another 70.

Many of the names would be unfamiliar to the average American, but the list also included figures from high-profile cases and people with ties to Trumpland. Notably missing from the list were WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Tiger King star Joe Exotic—whose supporters had pushed for pardons. Trump also did not issue pre-emptive pardons for any members of him family, his attorney Rudy Giuliani, or himself.

Four people who received clemency were supported by lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who was part of the defense team during Trump’s first impeachment. Among them is Sholam Weiss, who was sentenced to more than 800 years in prison in connection with a massive fraud scheme that destroyed a life insurance company and stripped its customers of their savings. Weiss fled the country in the middle of the trial but was captured in Austria and extradited.

Others who got a reprieve from Trump on the eve of Joe Biden’s inauguration include:

Death Row records co-founder Michael “Harry-O” Harris

Michael “Harry-O” Harris served about three decades after his 1988 conviction for attempted murder during a kidnapping. In 1992, from behind bars, Harris granted $1.5 million in seed money to Suge Knight to start the iconic record label, which went on to feature iconic rappers such as Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur, and Snoop Dogg. Snoop launched a lobbying bid to grant Harris clemency in the president’s final days in office, The Daily Beast reported on Monday. Harris had sought to be released from prison earlier this year, citing his autoimmune disorder as a possible risk factor for COVID-19, but that request was declined.

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick

Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was slated to remain behind bars until 2037 after being convicted in a major corruption scandal. Since being sentenced in October 2013, he has fought to be released, sending a letter to Trump in 2018 in the hopes of a commutation. Several of Kilpatrick’s allies, including billionaire Peter Karmanas, had also started pushing Trump to grant clemency in recent months.

Kodak Black

Rapper Kodak Black, real name Bill Kahan Kapri, was serving a three-year prison term after pleading guilty to weapons charges in 2019. The Florida native had admitted in court documents to knowingly making false statements in applications for firearms. The 23-year-old was also charged separately with first-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly assaulting a woman after a concert.

Ken Kurson, the former editor of The New York Observer and friend of Jared Kushner, was arrested last fall for what prosecutors described as a “pattern of stalking and harassment against three victims.” Authorities became aware of Kurson’s alleged crimes in 2018 while he was undergoing an FBI background check for an unpaid advisory role in the Trump administration that The Daily Beast first revealed.

In a statement announcing Kurson’s full pardon, the White House described him as an “upstanding citizen” and said that the investigation into his alleged cyberstalking “only began because Mr. Kurson was nominated to a role within the Trump Administration.”

Former California Rep. Randall “Duke” Cunningham

Randy “Duke” Cunningham left Congress in 2005 as a disgraced felon after pleading guilty to a slew of charges, including tax evasion, mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit bribery. He served seven years behind bars for accepting at least $2.4 million in bribes, at one point reportedly even using a “bribe menu” showing the exact sums he would require to deliver a contract.

Trump granted him a conditional pardon late Tuesday, with the White House noting that he “continues to serve his community” after his release in 2013 and that “former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich strongly supports this pardon.”

Robert “Bob” Zangrillo, real estate developer

Robert “Bob” Zangrillo is a Miami real estate developer charged in the Operation Varsity Blues college admissions scandal. He allegedly conspired to bribe college coaches at the University of Southern California to admit unqualified students via athletics programs. His trial was set for September 2021.

Paul Erickson, ex-boyfriend of Russian agent Maria Butina

Paul Erickson is perhaps best known for helping Russian spy Maria Butina worm her way into the Republican Party, but that is not what landed him in jail. Erickson was convicted of defrauding oil investors in July 2020 and sentenced to seven years in prison. Butina herself was deported in the fall of 2020 for failing to register as a foreign agent. Erickson’s pardon was supported by Kellyanne Conway, according to the White House’s statement. By granting clemency to Erickson, Trump lashed out one last time at Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference, writing, “This pardon helps right the wrongs of what has been revealed to be perhaps the greatest witch hunt in American History.”

Former Google and Uber Engineer Anthony Levandowski

Anthony Levandowski, the former Uber executive convicted of stealing trade secrets from Google’s self-driving car subsidiary Waymo, received a full pardon from Trump. He was fined hundreds of thousands of dollars and sentenced to 18 months in prison but had not begun serving it out yet. The pardon, according to a statement from the White House, was supported by right-wing tech entrepreneurs and Trump donors Palmer Luckey and Peter Thiel.

Ex-Chair of the North Carolina GOP Robin Hayes

Robin Hayes pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during a North Carolina corruption scandal. Investigators were probing a bribery scandal in which massive Republican donor Greg Lindberg offered a $2 million payment to remove the state officials responsible for regulating his business.

Aviem Sella, former Israeli air force officer

Aviem Sella was indicted on three counts of espionage against the U.S. for recruiting the notorious Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who worked for U.S. Navy Intelligence. Pollard was jailed for 30 years, but is treated as something of a hero in Israel. His pardon was supported by Bibi Netanyahu and Miriam Adelson, the widow of Trump mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, who was buried in Jerusalem last week.

Cardi B Slays at Met Gala 2019

Cardi B takes over took  the red carpet at the 2019 Met Gala.  Cardi slayed in her red Thom Browne dress with puffy coque feathers on the shoulders. This dress took hours to make and 35 people to create. She wore the gown with burgundy lace gloves and her hair under a hand-embroidered headpiece with bead detailing. She looked amazing. Although she stepped out solo, we know from the recent Billboard Awards 2019, her and offset are clearly back on. This look totally has people waiting on what to expect next. SDM live will be the first to update you.

Tekashi 69 gets busted by feds!

Tekashi69, hiphop star's manager and 2 other associates that were just fired from his team are in federal custody after getting busted on racketeering charges. As of right now, we are unsure of the fate of Tekashi 69 when it comes to this matter. Law enforcement sources are saying that he was recently arrested by ATF agents in New York City.
According to sources, they all could be facing racketeering and firearms charges. Tekashi 69 has a new project coming out soon, however his fans are more concerened with whats happening with his case. As of right now, it is not looking too good. However, some may agree with the saying, "All publicity is good publicity"!

Guess who’s having a baby?

The world has been so excited about the latest rumor about Taraji P. Henson. No one knows how this rumor got started. Empire star, Taraji P. Henson addressed the pregnancy rumors involving herself and fiancé Kelvin Hayden with a response saying, "I am not pregnant, y'all. Please, cut it out." Fans are still shooking up by this news and are waiting for her to address it more on her social media. Taraji has never been the one to feed into social media rumors. She is known to shut it down quick or not respond at all. The most important thing is that she seems to be happy by the glow on her face.

Charlamagne Tha God Cancels Mental Health Conversation With Kanye West

“Normalizing being mentally healthy is a conversation that I really wanted to have with Kanye because he’s been so vocal about his own mental health struggles." Those word were spoken by media personality Charlamagne Tha God. He had a meeting set up to talk to Hip Hop Star Kanye West. Unfortuately, it was cancelled due to scheduling circumstances. Charlamagne expressed his thoughts by saying, “Unfortunately I think to have that conversation with him right now would not be productive and a total distraction from the point of the convo which is to eradicate the stigma of mental health especially in the black community.” Some are sayng that Kanye's behavior lately on national television and social media has been a cry for help. They are also saying that he is using politics to cover up his real feelings. I know that his fans are looking forward to them rescheduling this interview.

 

What’s next for Nicki?

The last time we heard from Nicki Minaj, she was involved in a major feud with Cardi B! The scuffle at New York Fashion week shook both Artist’s fans! Nicki just announced that she will be releasing a new episode of Queen Radio! Her radio show has been a hit and has showed great success. Fans are excited and anxious to see what juicy topics she’s gonna have now since all the drama went down between her and Cardi B! We all are waiting for that release date! 

Did you catch the 2018 American Music Awards?

The 2018 American Music Awards started off with a bang last night! Taylor Swift opened up the show with a fire performance and got the audience’s attention. She wasn't the only one who came ready to set it off! Cardi B had her first post baby performance. She not only hit the stage, but both her and her husband Offset went home with awards. Ciara and Missy Elliot brought us back with a long awaited dance performance that had the audience jumping. Whe it comes to awards, Camila Cabello won her first two AMAs as a solo artist, for Favorite Pop/Rock Song for “Havana” and New Artist of the Year. Other first time winners were R&B singer Khalid, Migos and country singer Kane Brown. The most heart-warming moment of the night was when the late rapper XXXTentacion won Favorite Soul/R&B Album and his mother accepted on his behalf. Overall, the 2018 AMA's was a hit according to fans! I'm already looking forward to next year's show.

A very brief guide to the extremely long beef between Drake and Pusha T

Does Pusha T moonlight as a private investigator? Because that would explain a whole lot about “The Story of Adidon,” a brutal dis track he released Tuesday night that escalated his years-long (and recently reignited) beef with Drake.

First heard on New York’s Hot 97, the track is set to the instrumental of Jay-Z’s “The Story of O.J.” and makes serious allegations about Drake’s personal life. It claims Drake, whose mother is Jewish Canadian and father is African American, is “confused” when it comes to embracing his blackness. Pusha brings up Drake’s absentee father and accuses the rapper of similarly abandoning a child named Adonis, whom unproven rumors hold is Drake’s secret son with former porn star Sophie B. Pusha even targets the health of Noah “40” Shebib, Drake’s producer, who has multiple sclerosis.

And that’s barely skimming the surface. “The Story of Adidon” — unleashed after Drake mentioned Pusha’s fiancee in this past weekend’s “Duppy Freestyle,” which was itself a response to Pusha resuscitating the Drake ghostwriting drama on his recent album “Daytona” — uses an old (and apparently real) photo of Drake in blackface for cover art.

What ghostwriting drama, you ask? Oh, boy. There’s a lot to unpack given that Drake and Pusha have been at odds with one another since 2011, which doesn’t even include an older beef between Drake’s mentor, Lil Wayne, and Clipse, a duo consisting of Pusha and his brother, No Malice. But we can do this. It all starts with . . .

Lil Wayne wearing BAPE (2006)

In a 2006 cover photo for Vibe magazine, the rapper wore clothing by BAPE, a Japanese streetwear brand often worn by Clipse and popularized by their frequent producer Pharrell Williams. The rap duo released the Pharrell-produced “Mr. Me Too” that year, which, according to Billboard, accused Lil Wayne of copying the Virginia group’s “style from the shoes to the watches.”

Complex asked Lil Wayne about Clipse allegedly claiming they started “BAPE and coke rap” later that year, and Lil Wayne vehemently denied rapping about either subject: “Stop coming at me about that . . . man. That’s how you get beef started man.” (Narrator: He was right.)

Self-proclaimed legend Lil Wayne eventually said Clipse had to do a song with one of Wayne’s Cash Money Records label mates “to get hot.” (Clipse was featured on the song “What Happened to That Boy?” by Baby.) Cash Money Records later signed Drake in 2009.

After a few years, we entered an era of . . .

Pusha and Drake periodically insulting each other (2011-17)

Pusha freestyled in 2011 over the beat of “Dreams Money Can Buy,” a single from Drake’s sophomore album, “Take Care.” Though Pusha didn’t name a specific target, many have theorized that certain lyrics refer to Drake’s ego: “Rappers on their sophomores, actin’ like they boss lords / Fame such a funny thing for sure.”

The next year, Pusha once again attacked both Drake and Lil Wayne in “Exodus 23:1.” Using words we cannot publish in this family-friendly paper, Pusha (presumably) criticized Drake’s contract with Young Money, Lil Wayne’s imprint under Cash Money Records. Lil Wayne responded with an equally profane tweet.

Drake finally responded in 2013 with “Tuscan Leather,” the first track on his album “Nothing Was the Same.” He warns anyone attacking Lil Wayne — so, Pusha — to stop: “I’m just as famous as my mentor / But that’s still the boss, don’t get sent for / Get hype on the tracks and jump in front of a bullet you wasn’t meant for / ’Cause you don’t really wanna hear me vent more / Hot temper, scary outcome.”

Pusha let that simmer for a few years before responding in 2016 with “H.G.T.V Freestyle,” which is short on the homeowner drama but filled with the aforementioned ghostwriters drama (!!!). The rapper revealed himself to be a ghostwriter truther when he questioned whether Drake actually writes his own lyrics: “It’s too far gone when the realest ain’t real / I walk amongst the clouds so your ceilings ain’t real / These [expletive] Call of Duty ’cause their killings ain’t real / With a questionable pen so the feelin’ ain’t real.”

Let’s break that down. The first line likely refers to Drake’s 2013 album “Too Far Gone,” while “the clouds” recalls the album cover of “Nothing Was the Same.” Pusha refutes Drake’s past claim to being “the realest” by pointing out the irony of him potentially not using his own words. (Again, this has not been proven.)

And that brings us to . . .

The current Pusha and Drake debacle (2018)

On Friday, Pusha released his well-received, Kanye West-produced album “Daytona,” which notably uses an image of Whitney Houston’s drug-filled bathroom as cover art. The album’s last track, “Infrared,” revived the ghostwriting theory in the opening verse: “The lyric pennin’ equals the Trumps winnin’ / The bigger question is how the Russians did it / It was written like Nas, but it came from Quentin,” referring to rapper Quentin Miller. Basically, Pusha alleges Russians helped President Trump win the election just like ghostwriters supposedly helped Drake throughout his career.

Nicki Minaj — who previously dated onetime Drake nemesis Meek Mill, a rapper who also accused Drake of using ghostwriters — nevertheless voiced support for her Young Money label mate on Twitter: “Knock it off. Challenging the chosen ones only awakens the sleeping giant.”

Drake couldn’t possibly let Pusha get away with this absurdity so he immediately responded with “Duppy Freestyle,” which he starts by saying, “I’m in shock. The nerve, the audacity.” He sighs, quite dramatically, and gets on with it.

It appears Drake might have contributed to Kanye’s upcoming album: “What do you really think of the [expletive] that’s makin’ your beats? / I’ve done things for him I thought that he never would need / Father had to stretch his hands out and get it from me/ I pop style for 30 hours, then let him repeat.” (Kanye publicly thanked Drake in 2016 for helping him out on “Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1″ and “30 Hours,” both from “The Life of Pablo.”)

Drake also admits that he worked on lyrics with Miller, who was “at Kroger working double time,” to help his career. (Miller clarified on Twitter that he was actually working at Publix, but the sentiment stands.) Drake name-drops Pusha’s fiancee, Virginia Williams, and ends “Duppy Freestyle” by requesting money from Kanye and Pusha for the attention the dis track would bring to “Daytona.” Pusha tweetedthat Drake should go ahead and send him an invoice, so, naturally, Drake did.

And that, readers, brings us to “The Story of Adidon,” which sent pop culture Twitter into even more of a frenzy Tuesday after a crazy day of “Roseanne” drama. Drake has yet to respond but, according to Fader, Pusha went on the radio program “The Breakfast Club” Wednesday morning and said that “all bets are off” because of “Duppy Freestyle” naming Williams. He dragged Drake for the secret baby allegations — “I don’t even hang with my friends who have child support issues, I’m big on kids” — and expressed no regret for the vicious lyrics.

“I definitely didn’t get too far with anything,” Pusha said. “I’m here for the sport of it but when it gets personal, it gets personal. I’m not censoring myself, but there’s more content if it’s needed later.”

Brunch With Bunnie

"Brunch With Bunnie" Will be a Morning and Mimosa show! Covering everything in a fun, funky POSITIVE light! Brunch will Bunnie will allow people to showcase not only their talents and/or business, but their true passion for it! Love, Laughter and Success!

Beyoncé Showcases Sexy Outfits at Coachella: All About Her Styles

Beyoncé made her big comeback at Coachella 2018 on Saturday and she didn't disappoint, not with her performance and not with her sexy styles!

The singer showcased a number of hot looks during her set. Her outfits were custom-designed by Balmain's Olivier Rousting. The singer maintained a hands-on approach when it came to designing the different styles and involved her husband Jay-Z and their 6-year-old daughter Blue Ivy in the process.

Rousting, who has designed tour outfits for the singer before, told Vogue that her stylist Marni Senofonte approached him about designing Coachella looks for Beyoncé.

"Marni told me that the shows were all about survivors and that B was looking for something in a military style," he said. "Our silhouettes and our sort of Mad Max, futuristic take on military looks for fall were a perfect fit."

He worked with Senofonte, the singer herself and the rest of Beyoncé's team to create two custom Balmain stage wardrobes. She showcased one on Saturday and will wear outfits from the other onstage at her show this upcoming Saturday, during the second and final weekend of Coachella 2018.

 

by CORINNE HELLER

SDM Magazine Release Party Red Carpet

December 17, 2015 was a night to remember featuring all the hottest stars in Detroit at The Music Hall Downtown.