When he is eventually released from federal prison in Otisville, former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos will serve the more than two years remaining on his political corruption sentence in home confinement, a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Prisons said Thursday.
Federal officials said Wednesday that Skelos had tested positive for the disease while serving his 51-month sentence in the Orange County institution and would be released to some type of home confinement. The officials added that Skelos had shown no symptoms of the disease since April 8 but had been placed in quarantine.
At the time of the federal announcement, the 72-year-old Skelos was awaiting the outcome of a motion he had filed in federal court in Manhattan to be released because of the high risk of catching the disease within the prison, because of his age and health.
Skelos’ s doctor said in court papers that the former Senate leader showed signs of pre-diabetes, which could evolve into diabetes.
In an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus in federal prisons, Attorney General William Barr several weeks ago ordered the institutions to give priority to releasing the “most vulnerable inmates” and older inmates who “no longer pose a threat.”
Skelos’ prison sentence is not up until August, 2022.
A spokeswoman for the Bureau of Prisons in Washington said that under the release program, inmates who are selected typically have to be quarantined at their institution for two weeks, and then the federal Probation Department has to approve the conditions of home confinement.
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The spokeswoman, Sue Allison, said she could not talk about the particulars of Skelos’ situation. As of Thursday night he was still in Otisville, according to the Federal Prison Registry.
Skelos and his son Adam were convicted in 2018 in connection with charges that the former majority leader pressured businesses into giving his son $300,000 in bribes and extortion payments. Adam Skelos was sentenced to four years in prison for his part in the scheme.
In court papers, Skelos’ attorneys have proposed that he be released for confinement to his home in Rockville Centre to live with his wife, Gail. Mrs. Skelos would pick him up at Otisville and drive him directly to Rockville Centre.
“Mr. Skelos would then endure a fourteen-day self-quarantine restricted to a single bedroom within the home itself to ensure both his and Gail’s safety,” said the proposal filed in early April by attorneys G. Robert Gage and Alexandra Shapiro.
“After that, Gail would perform all essential functions outside the home, including grocery shopping, while exercising the utmost care to maintain social distancing,“ the proposal continued.
The home confinement conditions Skelos’ lawyer proposed, they said, are better than the anti-viral conditions at Otisville, where their client lives in a dorm, with beds 1 ½ feet apart and communal facilities, including showers. One inmate at Otisville collapsed in a shower and was diagnosed with the coronavirus, the lawyers said.
The lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment.
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