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Rapper and police sergeant among President Bush pardons

A Grammy Award-winning hip-hop artist and a former Detroit police sergeant are among 16 individuals to be pardoned or to have their prison sentences commuted by President Bush.

The new round of White House pardons announced late last night are Mr Bush's first since March, and come less than two months before the end of his presidency.

The beneficiaries' crimes include drugs conspiracy, tax evasion, poisoning bald eagles, dumping hazardous waste, bank embezzlement and theft of government property.

John Edward Forte, a Grammy Award-winning rapper, is arguably the best known of those pardoned. He was arrested at Newark International Airport in 2000 after being found with a briefcase containing $1.4m of cocaine and was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Forte, who has always protested his innocence, co-wrote and produced two songs on The Score, the Fugees' Grammy-winning 1996 album and several singers, including Carly Simon, had joined a campaign for his pardon, claiming he was not given a fair-trial.

The singer, of North Brunswick, New Jersey, will be released after serving half of a 14 year sentence.

Mr Bush commuted the prison sentence of James Russell Harris of Detroit, Michigan, a former police sergeant who was jailed for 30 years in 1993 for bribery, money-laundering and escorting shipments of cocaine. Mr Harris is said to have been co-operative with the government while in prison, and is now very ill.

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How does someone claim "innocence" when they are caught with a suitcase full of cocaine?

I saw Cops last nite and the guy has crack in his pants,,plus his wallet etc,,he says 'the pants arent mine'..

I think these thug turds have ahandbook of things to deny to cops regarkdess of how insane

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