Michael “Harry-O” Harris spoke with the Daily Mail for his first on-camera interview since being released from prison. The 59-year-old, who had been behind bars since 1988, said that he hopes to serve as a “cautionary tale” now that’s he’s a free man.
While Snoop Dogg and others were credited with influencing former President Donald Trump to pardon the former drug lord, Harris said billionaire Chris Redlitz, MC Hammer, and other activists were also instrumental in convincing the Trump administration to pardon him. Harris thanked Trump for commuting his sentence and expressed his willingness to work with Democrats and Republicans on justice reform.
“I appreciate Donald Trump, his children, his son-in-law. Whyever he did it, he did it, when so many others wouldn’t do it,” Harris said. “First of all, I’m grateful that God did whatever God do to get me to sit in this seat. And whatever vessel he used…I put in for clemency with Obama and it had to go through so many bureaucratic loopholes it never got to him I don’t believe. But it didn’t happen on his watch.”
“There’s not a dime of difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes down to results to me at this point,” he continued. “Until that change, I don’t have a dog in the fight, unless the people that’s in power deal with the people that are powerless in a respectful way.”
Harris also described being in prison with crack babies, causing him to reflect on the effects of his drug-dealing past. He said that realization influencing him to denounce his past actions.
“I’m telling you man, every day, even now, I think about my participation and it makes me sick to my stomach that I let them trick me to help kill my people. That’s killing me even today,” he said while holding back tears.
Harris was convicted in 1988 of attempted murder and narcotics distribution, although the attempted murder charge was later reversed on appeal. He was serving federal and state time for his role in operating an 11-state drug trafficking empire with close ties to the Cali Cartel in Colombia.
Harris said that he plans on dedicating his life to criminal justice reform and to help economically disenfranchised, crime-ridden communities through his newly launched charity, Community One World. He also described the feeling of freedom and the new outlook it’s given him.
“It was an awestruck moment,” he described. “I’m riding in the car with my folks and we coming back from the prison. I just had a [peace] of mind and I said, ‘I don’t feel it.’ They said, ‘What?’ I said, ‘I don’t feel what I just left.’ That does not mean I didn’t get the insight from the 33 years, the wisdom. But for that moment I felt like I had never been in prison. That’s how powerful freedom is. I have a second chance to make different choices.”
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Source: Daily Mail