President George W. Bush has pardoned rapper John Forte, an affiliate of the Fugees, who has been serving prison time for smuggling drugs, sources told AllHipHop.com.
Forte was one of 14 persons that Bush has pardoned or granted commuted prison sentences.
This wave of White House pardons is Bush's latest, as he has less than two months in his presidency. A pardon cannot be overruled.
Forte was arrested at Newark International Airport in 2000 and charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to distribute. Police caught him accepting a briefcase with about $1.4 million worth of liquid cocaine in it.
Forte was hit with a 14-year sentence in a federal penitentiary under minimum sentencing laws even though it was his first offense and he was a non-violent offender. He began his bid in jail in 2001 and has fought the laws vehemently.
Through the ordeal, he maintained his innocence and turned down a plea deal.
John Forte has released two albums, Poly Sci and I, John.
John found an ally in legendary singer Carly Simon and her son Ben Taylor, both close friends. Forte lived at Simon's estate in Martha's Vineyard for about six weeks in 1999 and even spent the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with the family. Simon and Taylor have lobbied on Forte’s behalf since he was incarcerated.
Much speculation has been made of others Bush may opt to pardon. Most of these involved those that government employees that may have unjustly interrogated suspected terrorists in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.
A pardon of these cases would severely impede president elect Barack Obama from investigating such crimes.