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Ex-NY Senate leader to leave prison after getting COVID-19


NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York state Senate leader Dean Skelos was expected to be released soon from prison to home confinement after testing positive for the coronavirus, prosecutors told a judge Wednesday.

The government notified a Manhattan federal judge Wednesday that it was informed earlier in the day that Dean Skelos, 72, was in quarantine after testing positive at the federal prison at Otisville, New York. It said he has been symptom-free since April 8.

Prosecutors say the U.S. Bureau of Prisons said Skelos will be approved for furlough and home confinement once his proposed residence has been approved by U.S. Probation Department authorities. Medical authorities at the prison have already cleared his release.

Judge Kimba Wood said in an order Tuesday that Skelos was scheduled for release on June 4, 2021, but that he might be eligible for release to a halfway house as early as June 4.

His lawyers had requested compassionate release for Skelos. In a March 27 letter recently made public, they told the judge that guards had just told Skelos and other inmates that another inmate had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The lawyers cited his age and his medical condition, saying he needs “the chance to quarantine at home and escape the glaring risk this virus presents.”

Skelos has been serving a four-year and three-month prison term after he was convicted of extortion, wire fraud and bribery.

Evidence at a trial of Skelos and his son in 2018 convinced a jury that he pressured wealthy businessmen to give his son roughly $300,000 for no-show jobs. His son Adam is serving a four-year prison sentence.

Prosecutors said the payments from the businessmen were bribes designed to win support from the powerful Republican for legislation favored by the businesses.