- The Washington Times - Monday, July 29, 2019

President Trump granted clemency Monday to seven people convicted of a variety of crimes, such as drug trafficking and weapons charges, and included an Arkansas man who was accused of Medicaid fraud in connection with his faith-based health treatment center.

Mr. Trump decided they were deserving of clemency “after a careful review of their files,” the White House said.

“Through these full and unconditional pardons, the federal rights of these men, including the right to vote and the right to bear arms, have been fully restored,” the White House said in a statement. “Today, they are once again full and equal citizens under the law.”

Ted Suhl of Arkansas was among the pardoned. His commutation was advocated by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins. The Arkansas Times described Mr. Suhl last year as a friend of Mr. Huckabee who gave money to legislative campaigns and served on the state’s child-welfare board.

Mr. Suhl ran religious centers for behavioral health care for juveniles in Arkansas; investigators accused him of taking part in a bribery scheme to increase Medicaid payments to his company.

From 2007 to 2011, Mr. Suhl’s companies received about $125 million in Medicaid reimbursements from the state through the Arkansas Department of Human Services. According to the Arkansas Times, the prosecution accused Mr. Suhl of funneling money to a top administrator at DHS and former legislator, Steven Jones, through an intermediary.

The White House noted that federal prosecutors in Arkansas declined to pursue the case, “but prosecutors in Washington decided to move forward with the prosecution.”

“Although acquitted on half of the charges filed against him, he was sentenced to seven years in prison,” the White House said.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham’s statement said Mr. Suhl “was a pillar of his community before his prosecution and a generous contributor to several charities.” She said he has been a “model prisoner” with a “spotless” disciplinary record.

The president also commuted the 20-year prison sentence of Ronen Nahmani, who was convicted in 2015 for conspiring to distribute a synthetic drug called “spice.”

The White House said Mr. Nahmani was a first-time offender with no prior arrests who has five young children at home and a wife battling terminal cancer. His case received bipartisan support in Congress.

The president pardoned John Richard Bubala, who pleaded guilty in 1990 to improper use of federal government property in connection with the transfer of automotive equipment to the town of Milltown, Indiana.

Mr. Trump also pardoned Rodney Takumi, who was convicted in connection with working at an illegal gambling operation in 1987; and Roy Wayne McKeever, who pleaded guilty in 1989 to transporting marijuana from Mexico to Oklahoma.

The president granted clemency to Michael Tedesco, who was convicted in 1990 of drug trafficking and fraud. Former President Barack Obama had pardoned him in 2017, but the fraud conviction was still on his record due to a clerical error.

He also pardoned Chalmer Lee Williams, convicted in 1995 in connection to the sale of stolen firearms.

The White House said he is active in his Kentucky community and is “uniformly described as a trustworthy man of exceptional character.”

Mr. Trump now has granted clemency to 21 people in more than three years. Mr. Obama granted clemency to 23 people in his first term, then accelerated the pace dramatically in his second term, granting relief to more than 1,900 people.

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