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Dean Skelos has coronavirus, to be released from prison early

Former State Sen. Majority Leader Dean Skelos was

Former State Sen. Majority Leader Dean Skelos was once among New York's most powerful politicians. Credit: Charles Eckert

Former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who had been fighting to get released from federal prison because of his fear of coming down with the coronavirus is getting his wish — because he has contracted the disease, say court papers.

The once politically powerful Rockville Centre Republican, 72, has tested positive for the virus at the Otisville federal prison in Orange County, according to documents filed in federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday by Southern District prosecutors.

The filing said that Skelos had been symptom-free since April 8, but was kept in quarantine.

But as a result of his positive test, the Bureau of Prisons says “that Skelos will be approved for furlough and home confinement, pending approval of his proposed residence by the United States Probation Department," according to the prosecutors.

Further, prosecutors said in the filing that Skelos already had been cleared for release by the prison’s medical staff. The papers did not indicate when Skelos would be released.

Late Wednesday night, Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Sue Allison said Skelos was still at Otisville but she could not say when he would be released.

Skelos, who has more than two years left on his 51-month sentence for political corruption, filed a motion two weeks ago under seal in the federal court in Manhattan asking to be released from Otisville because of the danger of his contracting the coronavirus.

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But in opposing the motion in a public filing, prosecutors revealed some of its details.

They argued that Skelos’ court motion was premature because he had not exhausted all the administrative procedures to seek release within the Bureau of Prisons.

“Only the BOP, for example, can provide the Court with detailed information on Skelos’ present health condition, his behavior since being incarcerated, his recidivism score, and the relative risks in Otisville as to his desired place of release,” the prosecutors said.

If Skelos’ health is a key issue in getting him released, prosecutors said, his court motion is apparently only backed by “a medical consultant … who does not appear to have examined Skelos.”

“Skelos has offered no evidence to suggest the BOP is not taking the pandemic seriously, and, to the contrary, the BOP has made significant efforts to respond.”

The former majority leader was convicted in 2018 of using his position to shake down businesses in order to get $300,000 worth of jobs and fees for his son, Adam.

Both Skelos and his son were convicted on charges of conspiracy, extortion and bribery at the federal court in Manhattan. Adam was sentenced to 4 years in prison for his role in the shakedown.

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