In a video that has gone viral on social media, a man named Anthony Swatzie is thanking both President Trump and Jared Kushner for helping to pass the law which got him out of jail years ahead of schedule. Swatzie was serving two life sentences for possession of crack cocaine. He was released from prison in May under the First Step Act, which allows inmates to earn “credits” toward early release by taking vocational classes.
Swatzie says in the video that he was released from prison on May 24 after serving 262 months. By that time, Swatzie had already tried to appeal his sentence twice — once in 2013 and once in 2000. Both times, his appeal was turned down, and Swatzie says he was starting to give up hope until the First Step Act was passed into law. In the viral video, Swatzie says, “I didn’t see no way out. But I kept fighting, and kept fighting, and kept fighting, man. I just want to thank Kushner, man, for pushing the bill,” he adds. “And President Trump for signing it.”
Swatzie Was Working as a Government Informer When He Was Arrested & Charged with Drug Offenses
Court records show that in 1998, Swatzie was living in Florida and acting as a confidential informant to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. But by Thanksgiving of 1998, according to the court records, Swatzie had also begun selling cocaine and crack. He was arrested in July 1999 after he sold cocaine to another confidential informant, David Lowe. After his arrest, police searched his home and found both powdered cocaine and crack cocaine. Swatzie cooperated with police but, according to authorities, he later said that he mostly possessed cocaine, instead of crack.
Swatzie already had multiple felonies on his record when he was arrested — he was committed four armed burglaries in the state of Florida, according to court records. Because of his prior record, he was treated as an “armed career criminal” and was given an enhanced sentence. Swatzie had appealed the sentencing unsuccessfully as recently as January 2019.