Snoop Dogg Producer Pardoned by President Trump
Weldon Angelos, a former music producer who worked with artists like Snoop Dogg, has received a pardon from President Trump.
Angelos, who was sentenced to 55 years in prison without parole in 2004, for selling $350 worth of weed to an undercover police officer while possessing a firearm, was one of 15 people who Trump pardoned on Tuesday (Dec. 22).
"Feels great to have been fully pardoned by the President of the United States. Now it’s time for more pardons and commutations," Angelos wrote on Instagram about the good news.
On Dec. 22, a statement from the White House Press Secretary regarding executive grants of clemency was published on WhiteHouse.gov. Weldon Angelos was one of 15 individuals that received a pardon from President Trump.
"Today, President Trump granted a full pardon to Weldon Angelos. Mr. Angelos’ pardon is supported by Senator Mike Lee, Senator Rand Paul, Alice Johnson, former U.S. Attorney Brett Tolman, and others," the statement reads. "Mr. Angelos is an active criminal justice reform advocate and champion of giving second chances. Because of mandatory minimums, Mr. Angelos was sentenced in 2002 to 55 years’ imprisonment for selling marijuana and carrying a handgun in the course of dealing. The presiding judge called this excessive sentence 'unjust and cruel and even irrational.'”
"Mr. Angelos was eventually released by judicial order after serving 13 years in prison, and committed to changing the world for the better through criminal justice reform advocacy," the statement continues. "His story has been cited as an inspiration for sentencing reform, including the First Step Act, and he participated in a Prison Reform Summit at the White House in 2018. In his own words, Mr. Angelos wants “to become whole again and put the bad choices in the past and continue changing the world for the better.”
Angelos executive produced Snoop Dogg's We From the LBC Soundtrack, which was released in 2002. Later that year, he was targeted in a drug sting by police, who believed he was part of a local street gang. After purchasing small amounts of marijuana from the armed producer on multiple occasions, police searched his home and found another weapon. He reportedly turned down a 15-year plea deal and was eventually convicted of 13 charges including drug, firearm and money laundering. He was also hit with three counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Due to mandatory sentencing, he was given 55 years.
There was immediate public outcry about the sentencing, even from the judge who was mandated to hand it down, Paul Cassell. Cassell reached out to President Obama in 2016, about commuting the harsh sentence. “The sentence was unjust, uncruel and even irrational...because his appeals have been exhausted, the only solution for Angelos is a Presidential commutation. I urge you to swiftly commute his sentence,” Cassell wrote. Obama obliged and commuted Angelos' sentence the same year, and he was released.
“He had to provide means for his family and himself,” Snoop Dogg said of the case in 2017. “It wasn’t like it was a violent crime he was committing—he was just hustling.”
Since his release, Angelos has been a advocate for justice reform. Now pardoned, his record will be expunged and his rights fully restored. Lil Wayne fans are hoping the rapper will receive the same treatment from Trump in his federal gun case.
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