John Forte: Sprung Early From 14 Years of Prison Thanks To President Bush
By Karu F. Daniels, BlackVoices.com
Is a real "change" in politics really happening.
Is George W. Bush planning to go out with a bang? It appears so. Among his list of presidential pardons – released publicly yesterday -- the 43rd President of the United States commuted the sentence of rapper/producer John Forte, who has been in prison for the past few years for transporting drugs.
Forte, whose real name is John Edward Forte, was arrested at Newark International Airport in 2000 for possession with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to distribute. Police discovered the Fugees-cohort with two briefcases filled with liquid cocaine, which they estimated were worth $1.4 million.
Academy and Grammy Award winning singer Carly Simon and her son, Ben Taylor, who attended the upper crust boarding school Exeter Academy with Forte, were vocal advocates for Forte's release and reportedly paid for his legal expenses.
The rapper/producer, who co-wrote two songs on the Fugees' 1996 breakthrough, 'The Score' and was also signed to Columbia Records, was sentenced to the mandatory minimum of 14 years and was serving time in Fort Dix, New Jersey.
"I allowed elements to be near me -- not drugs but people," he told 'Rolling Stone' in 2002. "That's what caught me up. I was too accessible. I was too here, I was too there. The price the government wants me to pay for that is fourteen years."
Luckily for Forte, he will be released December 22 after serving just over seven years. According to published reports, he must serve five years of supervised probation.
A native of the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York, Forte attended New York University before dropping out to work at Rawkus Entertainment, a New York City based music company whose roster included Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Pharaoh Monch. A chance meeting with Lauryn Hill led him to join The Fugees' Refugee Camp Crew. He released his solo debut album, 'Poly-Sci' in 1998.