Judge hears request for ex-lawmaker’s compassionate release

Salvatore DiMasi has battled cancer twice while in prison.

FILE - In this June 15, 2011, file photo, former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi walks out of the Federal courthouse in Boston. DiMasi’s bid to win early release from prison is moving to a federal courtroom. DiMasi has been battling cancer while serving nearly five years of an eight-year prison sentence for corruption. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)
FILE - In this June 15, 2011, file photo, former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi walks out of the Federal courthouse in Boston. DiMasi’s bid to win early release from prison is moving to a federal courtroom. DiMasi has been battling cancer while serving nearly five years of an eight-year prison sentence for corruption. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)

BOSTON (AP) — A prosecutor has told a judge that former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi is now cancer-free, but should be released early from prison because he can’t eat or drink without a risk of choking.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons and federal prosecutors have recommended compassionate release for DiMasi, who has served nearly five years of an eight-year sentence for corruption.

DiMasi has battled cancer twice while in prison.

During a court hearing Tuesday, a prosecutor told Judge Mark Wolf that although DiMasi is no longer being treated for cancer, he has a “significant physical limitation.” He said the 71-year-old Boston Democrat is at risk for choking because treatments for throat cancer caused a narrowing of his esophagus that makes it difficult for him to eat or drink and “substantially diminishes his ability to function normally in prison.”

DiMasi was convicted of steering state contracts to a software firm in exchange for $65,000.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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