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Trump grants presidential pardons, commutations to seven people

By
Darryl Coote

July 29 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Monday commuted the sentences of two people and granted clemency to five others.

Trump commuted the sentences of Ronen Nahmani and Ted Suhl who were handed down lengthy prison sentences for non-violent crimes.

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Nahmani, 44, was convicted in 2015 and sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiring to distribute synthetic marijuana.

In its explanation for his sentence commutation, the White House said, "he has five young children at home and his wife is suffering from terminal cancer."

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"These extenuating circumstances underscore the urgency of this request for clemency," it said, adding that the action was "strongly supported by many notable leaders across the political spectrum."

Members of Congress, Department of Justice officials and many others backed the decision, it said.

Suhl, 54, ran faith-based behavioral healthcare treatment centers for juveniles in Arkansas when he was arrested in 2016 and sentenced to a 7-year prison term for a bribery scheme that involved wire fraud, interstate travel in aid of bribery and bribery involving federal program funds in order to increase Medicaid payments to his company.

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The White House described Suhl as a "pillar of his community" and a "generous contributor to several charities."

"He has been a model prisoner while serving his sentence, maintaining a spotless disciplinary record," the White House said, adding that his clemency order was supported by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, among others.

Trump also granted pardons to John Richard Bubala, Roy Wayne McKeever, Rodney Takumi, Michael Tedesco and Chalmer Lee Williams, who were all sentenced in the 1980s and the 1990s.

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While the president can commute sentences of present inmates, pardons are generally granted to those who have already served their sentences.

Those granted pardons Monday had all pleaded guilty and had taken responsibility for their crimes and upon release from jail have attempted to give back to their communities through charity work or building local businesses, the White House said.

Tedesco, who was convicted of drug trafficking and fraud in 1990, was pardoned by President Barack Obama in 2017, "but due to a clerical error, his fraud conviction was not encompassed within that grant of Executive Clemency," the White House said.

"By granting a full and unconditional pardon, President Trump has corrected this error," it said.

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Trump had previously commuted the sentences of four people and pardoned 10 others since taking office in 2017.

Most controversially, Trump pardoned Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio before serving any jail time in August 2017 after having been convicted of contempt of court for ignoring a judge's order to stop racial profiling as part of immigration enforcement.

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