Rapper/producer John Forte, who worked closely with the Fugees before being sent to prison on drug charges, had his sentence commuted yesterday (Nov. 24) by President George W. Bush.

The artist was arrested for possession with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to distribute at Newark International Airport in 2000. Police discovered Forte with with two briefcases filled with liquid cocaine, which they estimated were worth $1.4 million.

He was sentenced to the mandatory minimum of 14 years and was serving time in Fort Dix, N.J., but will be released Dec. 22 after serving just over seven years. He must serve five years of supervised probation.

Forte, 33, co-wrote two songs on the Fugees' 1996 breakthrough, "The Score." He also released two solo albums, "Poly Sci" (produced by the Fugees' Wyclef Jean) and "I, John."

Singer Carly Simon and her son Ben, who attended Exeter Academy with Forte, were vocal advocates for the artist's release.