Judge hears request for ex-lawmaker’s compassionate release

Salvatore DiMasi has battled cancer twice while in prison.

(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.

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