President Trump is considering granting clemency to Democrat megadonor Dr. Salomon Melgen, who was convicted on 67 felony counts of Medicaid fraud in April 2017 and is currently incarcerated, according to CNN.
“Dr. Salomon Melgen, a prominent eye doctor from Palm Beach, Florida, who is in prison after being convicted on dozens of counts of health care fraud, is currently expected to be included in the clemency list, three sources familiar tell CNN,” CNN reported on Sunday.
The CNN report did not clarify whether potential clemency for Melgen would involve a pardon or simply commutation of his sentence, but it did claim the president was expected to make as many as 100 clemency announcements on Tuesday, the last complete day of his term in office.
A subsequent trial of Melgen and his friend Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) on charges of public corruption ended in a mistrial in November 2017, and the Department of Justice chose to dismiss that case in January 2018.
In February 2018, Melgen was sentenced to 17 years in prison on the Medicaid fraud charges, as The Palm Beach Post reported:
While the 63-year-old wealthy, politically-connected physician faced a possible 24½-year sentence, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra said a less severe punishment was justified given Melgen’s age and the unlikely chance he would commit future crimes.
He also ordered Melgen to pay $42.6 million in restitution to Medicare. Having called Melgen’s scheme one of the biggest Medicare fraud cases in the nation, federal prosecutors said they will return to court to ask Marra to tack on additional restitution for Melgen’s patients and other insurers. . .
The sentence satisfied neither prosecutors nor his attorneys, who also represented Melgen on influence-peddling charges in New Jersey with his longtime friend, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Melgen’s conviction and sentence this past July.
In November 2018, Menendez was re-elected to the U.S. Senate from New Jersey, defeating Republican Bob Hudgins by a comfortable 54 percent to 42.8 percent margin. He is expected to be named to chair a major Senate committee in the first session of the 117th Congress that convened earlier this month.
Breitbart News reported extensively on the details of Melgen’s Medicare fraud trial and conviction:
[T]he testimony presented by the prosecution’s expert medical witnesses during the trial was very damaging, while the testimony of his own defense witnesses backfired.
The jury announced the verdict after its third day of deliberation.
On April 1, 2015, Melgen and his friend and political contribution beneficiary, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), were indicted on charges of public corruption.
Two weeks later, on April 15, Melgen was indicted on 76 charges of Medicare fraud. “[P]rosecutors said [Melgen] attempted to bilk the health care program out of as much as $190 million,” the Associated Press reported at the time of the second indictment.
…not include any allegations of soliciting underage prostitution,” but did note that, “[p]resented with specific, corroborated allegations that defendants Menendez and Melgen had sex with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, the Government responsibly and dutifully investigated those serious allegations.
CNN reported in the months preceding the start of the public corruption trial that ended in a November 2017 mistrial:
Prosecutors insist that the men’s relationship was a “corrupt pact” in which Melgen showered Menendez with expensive vacations and campaign donations in exchange for the senator interceding on Melgen’s behalf in several different disputes with government officials – allegations the two vigorously deny.
The Department of Justice’s January 2018 decision to drop the public corruption case against Melgen and Sen. Menendez was controversial, since Melgen’s conviction in April 2017 on Medicare fraud charges was seen as a persuasive building block for the public corruption case against both men, as Breitbart News reported:
Menendez and co-defendant Dr. Salomon Melgen face 18 felony charges. The federal government alleges that Menendez lobbied on behalf of Melgen’s private financial interests in return for generous gifts of more than $50,000 worth of free air travel and political contributions to his own campaign and related Democratic entities of about $750,000.
Melgen was tried separately on Medicare fraud charges estimated to exceed $100 million and was convicted in April on 67 felony counts by a jury in a Florida federal court.
The federal government argues that Menendez personally lobbied former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sibelius to reverse the same Medicare billing policies which Melgen was convicted of violating in subsequent billings.
“Letting Melgen off the hook would be a horrible abuse of the pardon and commutation powers invested in the president by the Constitution, arguably worse than Bill Clinton’s pardon of fugitive Marc Rich,” Peter Flaherty, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, wrote earlier this month.