Judge OKs early prison release for ex-Massachusetts speaker

BOSTON (AP) — A federal judge has granted a request to release former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi early from prison as he battles health problems.

Judge Mark Wolf on Thursday approved a request from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and prosecutors who said health issues make it difficult for him to function normally in prison.

The 71-year-old DiMasi has served five years of an eight-year sentence on public corruption charges. DiMasi has been diagnosed with and treated for throat and prostate cancer while in prison.

Prosecutors say DiMasi’s cancer is in remission, but his treatments caused a narrowing of his esophagus that creates a risk of choking when he eats or drinks.

Under Wolf’s compassionate release ruling, the once-powerful Democrat will be released Tuesday from a federal prison in Butner, North Carolina.

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