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Judge Denies Ex-Speaker DiMasi's Bid To Relax Home Confinement

Former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, center, is flanked by stepson Christian, left, and wife Debbie, right in this November 2016 file photo. (Steven Senne/AP)
Former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, center, is flanked by stepson Christian, left, and wife Debbie, right in this November 2016 file photo. (Steven Senne/AP)

The federal judge who granted former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi a compassionate early release from prison denied a request Friday to ease the terms of his home confinement.

DiMasi's lawyers had asked U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf to modify the terms of his supervised release by replacing 24-hour home confinement with a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m curfew, which would allow the one-time Beacon Hill leader to move about more freely during the day.

In denying the motion, Wolf did authorize probation officers to allow DiMasi to participate in a twice-weekly "Live Strong" program for cancer survivors at a YMCA, and to leave home to exercise for up to two hours in a day. Previously, he was allowed to leave only for medical appointments and to attend church.

DiMasi was granted early release in November after serving five years of an eight-year sentence on federal corruption charges, including extortion. The Democrat was charged with using his clout as speaker to steer lucrative state contracts to a software company in exchange for $65,000 in payments funneled through DiMasi's outside law firm.

While in prison, DiMasi was treated for tongue and prostate cancer. In arguing for compassionate release, his lawyers and family members said while his cancer was in remission, the illness had resulted in a narrowing of his esophagus that created a risk of choking and required he be constantly monitored while eating and drinking.

In his nine-page order, the judge noted that "the imperfect performance of DiMasi and his monitors since his release," justified keeping intact most of the original terms of his supervised release.

In December, Wolf said DiMasi was not at home when his probation officer made an unannounced visit in the late afternoon. DiMasi had been given permission that day to go to the bank in conjunction with a 12:30 p.m. medical appointment but decided instead to go to the bank with his wife later in the day.

The judge also raised questions about whether his eating and drinking were being properly monitored. The probation officer, during that same afternoon visit, noted that DiMasi's stepson had already marked on a required log that he had monitored DiMasi eating a dinner meal that had not yet happened.

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