By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News
Former state Rep. Ed Henry says his pardon by President Donald Trump related to 2018 fraud conviction is a “vindication.”
“It’s a recognition that this whole thing was political in origin,” Henry told Alabama Daily News Wednesday morning. “Had I not been who I am, saying what I did, they never would have done any of this. There’s a vindication.”
Henry’s was one of 73 pardons and 70 commuted sentences granted by former President Donald Trump Tuesday night.
Henry was sentenced in May 2019 to two years of probation for his role in a health care fraud case. He pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting theft of government property as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors, the Associated Press reported at the time.
Henry’s conviction was not related to his elected office and the full pardon means he could seek public office in the future. Asked if that’s a possibility, Henry said, “Not if these guys do their jobs.”
“I don’t want to be in politics,” Henry said. “I would much rather have politicians that do their job and actually believe in the people of Alabama. They tend to think most people in Alabama are idiots and so they govern as such. It would be nice to have some liberty minded individuals and so I had already been taking it, kind of on myself to try and find good people to run for office and encouraging them and giving them some tools that they will need to win.”
Henry was an early supporter of Trump and state campaign co-chair for him during the 2016 election.
Henry said he did not seek the pardon and became aware of the possibility in early September when he said Tom Fredricks, a Decatur-area business owner and former House candidate, asked Congressman Mo Brooks if he would push for a pardon.
“I’ve known Ed for a very long time and I’ll stand up for his moral character,” Fredricks, an GOP member and activist, said. “And I know firsthand how politics work and how good people can be mistreated by the political system.”
Henry credits Brooks for putting the pardon in motion and said U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville and former state representative turned Congressman Barry Moore were also involved. Henry said he was initially told by Brooks’ office Tuesday night that his name had been cut from a list of potential pardons, but efforts were being made to get him back on it. He said he didn’t know he’d been pardoned until midnight when his phone started ringing.
A comment from Brooks’ office was not immediately available. According to the White House, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville was supportive of Henry’s pardon.
“Sen. Tuberville requested that President Trump review the facts surrounding former state Rep. Ed Henry’s 2018 conviction and consider a pardon based on the circumstances of Mr. Henry’s prosecution, his timely payment of the fine levied in relation to the plea agreement, and his prior service to the United States,” a spokesperson for Tuberville said in an email to Alabama Daily News.
Henry is a U.S. Air Force veteran.
Prosecutors said doctors agreed to improperly waive co-pays for certain Medicare patients with chronic conditions who enrolled in care management services provided by Henry’s company, MyPractice24. Waiving the required co-pays meant Medicare likely paid for services patients did not need or would have refused if they had to pay the $8 co-pay, prosecutors said.
Henry said he didn’t know waiving the co-pays was a crime.
“Henry and his co-defendants treated seriously ill patients as vehicles for getting money from the government,” U.S. Attorney Louis Franklin said in 2018 when the plea deal was announced.
A spokesman for Franklin’s office said this morning they do not comment on clemency decisions by a president.
Henry served two-terms in the State House and didn’t run for reelection in 2018.
As a lawmaker in 2017, Henry led the impeachment push against then-Gov. Robert Bentley, who eventually resigned.
Separately, Henry filed in September 2017 a lawsuit against Attorney General Steve Marshall alleging the grand jury secrecy laws are used to intimidate grand jury witnesses and violate the First Amendment. Henry alleges the state is preventing him from talking about not only what happened when he testified in 2014 before the grand jury investigating then-Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, but what he knew prior to his testimony. That lawsuit is ongoing.
Henry said one bittersweet aspect to Wednesday’s news is that one of his first phone calls would have been to friend Hannah Ford. Ford, a political consultant who worked on several Republican’s campaigns and for conservative issues, was killed in a three-vehicle wreck in Montgomery Sunday night.
“Her entire family, when all my crap hit the fan, they drove up here and met with me, prayed with me, loved on me and lifted us up,” Henry said. “She will be missed.”