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 led Batesville Hospital Management, which handled business operations for Tri-Lakes Medical Center in Batesville.
Federal court records show 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.
On Nov. 13, 2012, Corkern was sentenced to three years of supervised release.
He has practiced at Delta Regional Medical Center in Greenville for years, but according to federal case records from 2017, his Medicare and Medicaid licensure was terminated.
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.
A statement issued by the White House noted Corkern served in the Mississippi Army National Guard and has provided his services to low-income patients.
“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 statement from the White House read.
WREG-TV reached out to numerous patients who lauded Dr. Corkern’s work on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic. They credit him with helping to save the lives of friends and family members, as the virus continues to wreak havoc in the Magnolia State.
“If you remember, last week we reported out 98 deaths in one day, the highest total that we’ve had so far,” Dr. Paul Byers, Mississippi State Epidemiologist, said. “So we are still seeing deaths in Mississippi.”
As casualties of COVID-19 tolls continue to rise, this pardon appears like it will help one doctor expand his medical services in his community.
Dr. Corkern’s primary service is listed as “internal medicine” with a subspecialty in “emergency medicine.”
Trump pardoned 73 people and commuted the sentences of an additional 70 before leaving office Wednesday. At least four had Tennessee connections, with several more from Mississippi.