Brother of Bears Hall-of-Famer Brian Urlacher among 140 pardoned by Trump before leaving office

Chicago News

CHICAGO (AP) — The brother of Chicago Bears Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher has been pardoned of federal charges that he recruited for a multimillion-dollar illegal offshore gambling ring,

Casey Urlacher, the mayor of the tiny Chicago suburb of Mettawa, was among those pardoned in the final hours of President Donald Trump’s term as part of a flurry of clemency action that benefited more than 140 people.

Casey Urlacher, 41, was charged last February and pleaded not guilty the next month.

He also played football but with limited success, having played at Lake Forest College and in the Arena Football League before becoming mayor of the village of fewer than 550 people in 2013.

Brian Urlacher has supported Trump, contributing to Trump’s campaign shortly after his brother was indicted and visiting the White House and presenting the president with a No. 54 Chicago Bears jersey days after his brother pleaded not guilty.

In a statement announcing the pardon early Wednesday, the White House said that Casey Urlacher “has been committed to public service and has consistently given back to his community,” adding that his mayoral position is unpaid and that he “is a devoted husband to his wife and a loving father to his 17-month old daughter.”

Just before midnight, Trump signed a flurry of pardons and commutations for more than 140 people, including his former chief strategist, rap performers and ex-members of Congress.

Other presidents have issued controversial pardons before leaving the White House. But perhaps no other commander in chief has so enjoyed using the clemency authority to benefit not only friends and acquaintances but also celebrity defendants and those championed by allies.

The final list was full of more conventional candidates whose cases had been championed by criminal justice activists. One man who has spent nearly 24 years in prison on drug and weapons charges but had shown exemplary behavior behind bars had his sentence commuted. So did a former Marine sentenced in 2000 in connection with a cocaine conviction.

Wednesday’s list includes its share of high-profile defendants.

Among them were rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, both convicted in Florida on weapons charges. Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter, has frequently expressed support for Trump and recently met with the president on criminal justice issues. Kodak Black, also known as Bill K. Kapri, had his sentence commuted.

Despite speculation that the president might pardon himself in the face of potential legal jeopardy once he leaves office, and even though he had claimed that he had the absolute power to give himself one, Trump apparently opted not to do so. He also did not pardon any of his children or his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who has faced an investigation in New York, though the status of that probe is unclear.

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