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Don Pooh's Birthday Party - August 21, 2003

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G-Dep, who is currently in prison for murder, is now at the heart of a movement for granting clemency in New York – and the lawyer who prosecuted him is working to help him get free.

The former Bad Boy Records star and Harlem native, also known as Trevell Coleman, turned himself in 2010 and confessed to shooting a man in an attempted robbery in October 1993 out of extreme remorse for his actions. He’d be convicted of second-degree murder in 2012, and despite pleas for leniency from the jury foreman and assistant Manhattan District Attorney David Drucker, the judge sentenced G-Dep to a minimum of 15 years to life. Now, Drucker is part of an effort to convince Governor Kathy Hochul to grant him clemency.

“Many defendants display remorse, but it is rarely clear how much they are sorry for their crime and how much they are sorry for getting caught,” Drucker wrote in a letter as part of Coleman’s clemency application. “With Mr. Coleman, there is no doubt — his remorse is as genuine as any I, or others I have talked to, have ever seen.” In addition, the judge who presided over the case, Michael J. Obus, wrote and submitted to the state a separate letter of support for Coleman to be freed. Obus noted that he had never done so during his 34 years as a judge.

Coleman’s case – and how much he has spoken about the remorse for his actions – is seen as a potential bellwether for how committed Governor Hochul really is to “overhauling the system” when it comes to

clemency in New York for those who are seeking it. Clemency has been sparingly granted in the past in the state – according to statistics, former Governor Andrew Cuomo received 6,405 petitions from 2017 – 2020. He granted clemency in 95 cases, with only 14 of those sentences being commuted.

Meanwhile, while her office has made the application process easier by updating the website and hiring full-time staffers to handle the requests, Hochul has only granted clemency to 10 people since taking over as governor more than a year ago. She’s also in a closely-watched reelection campaign against Republican Lee Zeldin, a supporter of former President Donald Trump who’s running on a platform promising to be tougher on crime than Hochul.

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