It was revealed today that Refugee Camp affiliate John Forte watched his sentence commuted, one of 16 people pardoned by President Bush. Forte and another inmate were given reduced sentences, whereas the other 14 were pardoned.
In 2000, Forte, an alum of the prestigious Phillips Exter Academy, was convicted sentenced to 14 years in prison for aiding and abetting the distribution of over five kilograms of cocaine. Per reports, he is set to be released December 22, to five years of probation.
The reduced sentence comes after numerous high profile celebrities and politicians were writing the President on the musician and producer's behalf. Most notably, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch and 1970s singer/songwriter Carly Simon and her son were instrumental in garnering attention to the incarcerated Hip Hop artist. Hatch is also a musician.
Both used Forte's musical abilities as convincing argument to his merit to society as a civilian rather than an inmate.
"Judges have lost a lot of their power
because of mandatory minimums. I think the judge in
John's case was extremely frustrated by having to go by them and
likely would have given John a much lesser sentence if it wasn't
for the mandatory minimums," Simon told Rolling Stone over six years ago. The two have remained friends since Forte's schooling with the Simons at Exeter.
John Forte's 1998 Columbia Records album Poly Sci featured DMX and Fugees member Pras. Forte also appeared on Wyclef Jean's hit "We Trying To Stay Alive." In 2002, he released I, John [click to read].
HipHopDX will keep you updated on this breaking story.
Additional Reporting by DJ Victorious.