Former lobbyist and healthcare executive Rusty Cranford, accused of bribing public officials in Arkansas to help his company receive millions in federal Medicaid money for mental health programs, has asked for a delay in a trial scheduled June 11 in Springfield, Mo., in part because he expects additional criminal charges.

The court filing provides no clues about whether an expected new indictment could raise new charges about Arkansas politicians beyond those already named.

In a motion filed Thursday, his attorney asked for a continuance until Aug. 20.
on the one county of conspiracy and eight federal program fraud charges he faces.

He wrote:

Advertisement

 

Defense counsel’s discovery review is ongoing. However, a substantial portion of the discovery is still being processed for review; more than 150 gigabytes of discovery materials are currently being copied to a cloud-based e-discovery platform. Defense counsel is in need of additional time to prepare this discovery and conduct a substantive review.

Additionally, the government has informed Mr. Cranford that it intends to file a superseding indictment in the near future. The superseding indictment will include additional charges against Mr. Cranford and will be accompanied by a substantial amount of new discovery.

Cranford’s Kansas City lawyers said more time would be necessary to prepare and government attorneys didn’t object,

Former Reps. Eddie Cooper and Micah Neal and former Sen. Jon Woods have either pleaded guilty or been convicted in investigations in which Cranford was implicated. According to charges against Cranford, Medicaid money was used for bribes and political contributions to advance Preferred Family Healthcare, a multi-state organization that bills tens of millions annually to state governments in several states. Others in the company, which has undergone a leadership and organization change, have also been accused of misdeeds. It remains, significantly, in charge of millions of programs in Arkansas, a sharp difference from what happened after Ted Suhl’s youth services empire was implicated in a bribery scheme. The state stopped doing business with his residential and community companies and that put them out of business.. Cranford’s former company continues to operate.  The company has employed prominent Republican Betty Dickey as a representative and the Republican administration of Asa Hutchinson has suggested that PFH services can’t be readily provided by others in justifying its continuing hold on state business.

Cranford has also been accused in court documents, but not charged, with talking about a hit on a witness in the investigation. That was part of the reason he was denied bail while awaiting trial.