Trump pardons Mississippi physician convicted of bribery


JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — One of the people pardoned during Donald Trump’s final hours as president is a Mississippi physician who pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge in 2012.

Dr. Robert S. Corkern was the president, secretary and treasurer of Batesville Hospital Management, which handled business operations for the not-for-profit Tri-Lakes Medical Center in Batesville.

Federal court records show that in his January 2012 guilty plea, Corkern admitted that on March 28, 2007, he paid $25,000 to the Panola County administrator as a bribe for the administrator’s role in securing a $400,000 county payment to the rural hospital eight days earlier.

“Corkern had a financial interest in Tri-Lakes Medical Center and benefitted from the $400,000 transfer,” the records show.

Corkern was sentenced in November 2012 to two years’ house confinement and three years’ post-release supervision.

A White House news release said Trump’s pardon of Corkern is supported by Mississippi’s two Republican U.S. senators, Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith; and Republican former Gov. Phil Bryant.

“This pardon will help Dr. Corkern practice medicine in his community, which is in dire need of more doctors as it has struggled to keep up with demand for emergency services,” the news release said. “Dr. Corkern served in the Mississippi Army National Guard and has generously provided his services to low-income patients.”

The Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure revoked Corkern’s license January 2013 “due to felony conviction of crime of moral turpitude” and reinstated it in May 2014.

Corkern was working as an emergency room physician at Delta Regional Medical Center in Greenville at the time his license was revoked.

Trump also pardoned Joey Hancock, a Mississippi man convicted in 2009 of a federal drug charge, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Hancock was sentenced to two years in prison. The White House said Wicker, Hancock’s employer and pastor were among those supporting the pardon.

“Following his release from prison, Mr. Hancock has been a hard-working employee and active in his church and community,” the news release said.

Another Mississippi resident pardoned by Trump is David Lamar Clanton and the White House said Wicker supported this action. Clanton was convicted of false statements and related charges in 1995 and was sentenced to 10 months in prison. Court records with details about the charges were not available online Wednesday.

“Mr. Clanton’s supporters testify to his contributions to the community, especially with respect to issues surrounding rural healthcare,” the release said. “Mr. Clanton has been active with 4-H Clubs and other organizations in his community.”

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