Death Row Records co-founder Michael “Harry-O” Harris was elated when he heard the news that outgoing President Donald Trump commuted his prison sentence on January 19, 2021. Harris walked out of the Federal Correctional Institution Lompoc in Lompoc, Ca. as a free man, after spending nearly three decades behind bars.
Little did anyone know that working behind the scenes for Harris’ release was his friend, multi-platinum artist, actor, philanthropist and entertainment icon Snoop Dogg. Snoop took the initiative to bring the case to criminal justice reform advocate Alice Johnson, whose sentence was commuted by Trump when Kim Kardashian advocated for her release in 2018. Johnson took Harris’ case to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, and the rest is history. Also involved in his clemency, was activist Weldon Angelos, a former music producer and one-time federal prisoner who was pardoned by Trump in December, 2020.
For years, the businessman who founded Death Row Records along with Suge Knight (home to such artists as Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Warren G and other artists), had been attempting to overturn a sentence that was supposed to last until 2028.
Michael Harris’ lawyer Bruce Zucker said in a statement, “I have represented Michael Harris since 2015. In November 1990, Mr. Harris was sentenced to 235 months in federal prison for drug-related activity, which was ordered to run consecutive to a lengthy California sentence for first-degree attempted murder. But, on October 11, 2011, the California parole board released Mr. Harris from his state sentence because the alleged victim of his crime recanted and because of his pristine prison record and service to the community. He was then transferred to federal prison to begin serving his 235-month sentence.”
Zucker continued, “Mr. Harris’ federal prison sentence for involvement with drugs was unduly harsh. It occurred during the 1980s, at a time when then Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush authorized legislation that imposed draconian penalties for drug offenses, which primarily and adversely affected young African American men living in the inner-city, such as Mr. Harris. I believe Mr. Harris should have been released from prison years ago, like other similarly situated folks were. This commutation is more than equitable, and it is long overdue.”
Upon his release from prison, and in the coming days, Harris was greeted by his family and friends, including Snoop.
CHECK OUT SNOOP’S POST HERE: