The White House announced Monday that President Trump commuted the sentence of Ted Suhl and Ronen Nahmani, two men who had been serving lengthy prison terms after federal prosecutors convicted them of non-violent offenses.
Suhl was running youth behavioral treatment programs and was convicted in 2016 of bribing an Arkansas Human Services Department official. Suhl had passed the money through a church and a local official. He claimed he was only making charitable donations, and appealed saying there was no quid pro quo.
Federal prosecutors in Arkansas opted not to bring charges against Suhl, but prosecutors in Washington charged and convicted him. Suhl was acquitted on half of the charges he faced, but still received a seven-year sentence, the White House said.
Suhl tried to bring his case before the Supreme Court, arguing that while he was hoping to get on the official's good side, there was no actual bribery because he had not actually received anything in return. The Supreme Court denied the request to hear his case.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had lobbied for Suhl’s release, which was originally not set to take place until 2023.
Nahmani was a first-time offender who was convicted of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and controlled substance analogs for importing synthetic cannabinoids from Hong Kong and China and selling them in the U.S. in 2014. He received a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. He appealed to the Eleventh Circuit and lost.
Nahmani’s release had bipartisan support from lawmakers including Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Rand Paul, R-Ky.
“Mr. Nahmani is a non-violent, first-time offender with no criminal history. He has five young children at home and his wife is suffering from terminal cancer. These extenuating circumstances underscore the urgency of his request for clemency,” the White House said.
President Trump famously granted clemency to Alice Marie Johnson last year, after Kim Kardashian West spoke to Trump on her behalf. Johnson was serving a life sentence for a drug conviction and was released after serving 20 years.