Cleaver Speaks With Justice Department About Robert Courtney, Confirms Release Is Still Under Review

Jul 17, 2020
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, United States Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) spoke with Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legislative Affairs Stephen Boyd and the warden of Federal Correction Institution (FCI) Englewood regarding the pending release of convicted felon Robert R. Courtney. During the phone call, Congressman Cleaver relayed the outrage among the Kansas City community at the potential release of Courtney and his belief that the decision should be immediately reversed. Officials on the call assured Congressman Cleaver that Courtney would not be released from prison today and that his release was still under review.

“Robert Courtney is a man who took advantage of public trust to commit abhorrent crimes that led to pain and suffering of hundreds, if not thousands, of Kansas Citians,” said Congressman Cleaver. “There are those in prison who have committed victimless crimes and are at high-risk of COVID-19 complications that, understandably, should be released for home confinement. However, Mr. Courtney is not one of these individuals. His crimes should disqualify him from early release, and I’m hopeful as the Justice Department undergoes further review of this case they will come to the same conclusion.”

Additionally, Rep. Cleaver, along with Sam Graves (R-MO) and U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), sent a letter urging U.S. Attorney General William Barr to block the early release of Courtney, who was sentenced to 30 years of imprisonment for diluting as many as 98,000 prescriptions, including cancer treatment medication, over the course of nearly a decade.

In the letter, the lawmakers wrote:

“Courtney’s crimes are heinous. As shown by the heart wrenching victim impact statements enclosed with this letter, he inflicted a steep physical and emotional toll upon his victims for personal financial gain. He acted without consideration for the theft of his victims’ health and quality of life, and his actions can be described as no less than purposefully evil. Courtney should serve the entirety of his sentence as penance for his crimes—both against his victims and against the public trust in medical care.”

The members’ letter also includes several statements from victims whose health and quality of life have been significantly impacted by his crimes. You can read the official letter from the lawmakers here.


Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri's Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee's Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee; Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy; member of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress; member of the Committee on Homeland Security; and a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. For more information, please contact Matt Helfant at 202-590-0175 or A high-resolution photo of Congressman Cleaver is available here.