FORMER cocaine kingpin and record label founder Michael ‘Harry O’ Harris tearfully thanked ex-President Donald Trump for a pardon that got him out of jail.
Harris, 59, wept in his first interview after Trump commuted his sentence, shaving off seven years, and making him a free man.
Michael ‘Harry O’ Harris has been released from jail
Donald Trump granted a pardon to Michael ‘Harry O’ Harris in his final days in officeCredit: Getty Images – Getty
“I appreciate Donald Trump, his children, his son-in-law,” Harris said, referring to Trump family members including first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, who served as White House advisers.
“Whyever he did it, he did it, when so many others wouldn’t do it,” Harris said in the interview with DailyMailTV released on Tuesday.
Snoop Dogg, who became a famous rapper through Harris’ Death Row Records, lobbied for a pardon for Harris, with the help of rapper MC Hammer, billionaire Chris Redlitz and other justice reform activists.
They won over Ivanka Trump and Kushner, and President Trump granted the pardon in his final days in office.
Michael ‘Harry O’ Harris had been incarcerated since 1988Credit: Change.org
Harris said he asked for clemency from ex-President Barack Obama and that it went through many bureaucratic loopholes but he does not believe it reached the 44th president’s desk.
“It didn’t happen on his watch,” he said.
Harris added that he sees “not a dime of difference between Democrats and Republicans” in terms of results and that he doesn’t “have a dog in the fight, unless the people that’s in power deal with the people that are powerless in a respectful way.”
Michael ‘Harry O’ Harris’ record label gave rise to rappers Snoop Dogg and Dr DreCredit: Getty Images – Getty
The South Central Los Angeles native began selling crack cocaine from Colombian drug cartels when he was 20 years old, distributing it to states including Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, New York and Texas.
But in 1988, he was convicted of drug trafficking and attempted murder.
Prosecutors said Harris and two accomplices suspected his distant relative who worked in the drug operation was stealing, and shot him and left him for dead.
Michael ‘Harry O’ Harris co-founded Death Row Records
Harris claimed he was innocent in the state crimes and the alleged victim withdrew testimony.
The parole board then ended Harris’ state sentence and moved him to a federal prison to serve his drug trafficking sentence through 2028.
While incarcerated, Harris maintained an “exemplary” record, encouraged youth to stay away from trouble and ran programs to help convicts learn computer programming.
Harris said he was “awestruck” upon release from jail.
“I’m riding in the car with my folks and we coming back from the prison. I just had a [peace] of mind and I said ‘I don’t feel it,’” Harris said.
“They said ‘what?’ I said ‘I don’t feel what I just left.’”