A federal judge today rejected a request by the government to release former House Speaker Sal DiMasi from prison, but gave its lawyers until Oct. 27 to prove why compassion requires he should be released, rather than the fact he still has powerful friends.
DiMasi, currently suffering from cancer, has served about 56 months of his 96-month sentence for corruption.
The federal Bureau of Prisons last week asked Wolf to release DiMasi on the grounds of compassion because his cancer is so advanced.
But Wolf, who noted DiMasi's cancer came up during his 2011 sentencing, said the bureau had provided no medical proof that DiMasi deserves a rarely granted compassionate release, only "unverified statements."
Without such proof, Wolf continued, he would have to consider "whether the Director's decision to file the Motion was influenced by DiMasi's former status as Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the stature of some who may be advocating for his release." And that, Wolf wrote, could be "a form of unwarranted disparity based on power and privilege, which would injure respect for the law."
Wolf set a Nov. 1 hearing date to hear the government's arguments on releasing DiMasi.