Todd Leininger from Bloomington had been imprisoned in Venezuela since April 2014 when he was convicted by a Venezuelan court in the midst of anti-government protests. Many questions remain over the due process afforded to Leininger during that trial. Consistent with law, a Venezuelan court issued an order for his conditional release on May 23, 2018. In November 2018, that same court again ordered his release, but until now the Venezuelan authorities refused to comply with the order. Mr. Leininger was released on Thursday, April 25, and arrived in Miami, Florida, this morning.
Senator Young worked with the White House and the Department of State to help secure Leininger’s release and worked with the Leininger family and legal counsel to ensure that his case remained a top priority. In addition to sending a letter to President Trump and Vice President Pence, and seeking a commitment from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Young also communicated with the Venezuelan government and the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, and held numerous meetings with State Department officials, members of the Venezuelan government, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and various international nongovernmental organizations. While those efforts were underway, Senator Young also helped introduce the Venezuela Emergency Relief, Democracy Assistance and Development (VERDAD) Act, to hold those in power in Venezuela accountable for the continued detention of Todd Leininger and many others.