WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Monday granted full pardons to five people and commuted the prison sentences of another two, bringing to 19 the total number of people to whom he has granted executive clemency since taking office.
In general, a pardon is granted after a person has already completed a sentence, while a commutation is granted while a person is still in prison, according to the nonprofit Families Against Mandatory Minimums.
Trump on Monday commuted the sentences of Ted Suhl and Ronen Nahmani. Suhl is an Arkansas man who was convicted in 2016 of Medicaid fraud and bribery-related charges and sentenced to seven years in prison. According to the White House, his request for clemency was “strongly supported” by former U.S. attorney Bud Cummins and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, the father of former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee.
Nahmani, of Florida, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2015 for conspiracy to distribute synthetic marijuana. The White House said Monday that Nahmani’s wife has terminal cancer and that the couple has five young children.
“These extenuating circumstances underscore the urgency of his request for clemency,” the White House said, adding that the action was supported by lawmakers including Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and Mark Meadows, R-S.C.
The five people to whom Trump granted full pardons on Monday are Roy Wayne McKeever, John Richard Bubala, Rodney Takumi, Chalmer Lee Williams and Michael Tedesco. They served time in prison for crimes committed in the 1980s or 1990s.
According to the White House, McKeever was arrested for transporting marijuana from Mexico to Oklahoma; Bubala had improperly transferred federal automotive equipment for maintenance use; Takumi had worked at an illegal gambling parlor; Williams was convicted of crimes related to the theft and sale of firearms from airport luggage; and Tedesco was convicted of drug trafficking and fraud. Tedesco was pardoned by former President Barack Obama in 2017, but the fraud conviction was not included due to a clerical error, the White House said.
Individuals can request executive clemency through the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney, which reviews them and then sends recommended petitions to the White House.
A presidential pardon does away with the “civil disabilities” that accompany a criminal conviction – meaning that a person who has been pardoned is allowed to possess firearms, sit on a federal jury and regain the right to vote, even if he or she lives in a state where convicted felons are barred from voting.
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The Washington Post’s Mark Berman contributed to this report.