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Sal DiMasi asks judge to ease home confinement rules

Sal DiMasi spoke to the media on Nov. 22, when he arrived back in Boston after his release from federal prison.
Sal DiMasi spoke to the media on Nov. 22, when he arrived back in Boston after his release from federal prison.(Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/File)

Former House speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi, who was convicted in 2011 of public corruption and was freed early from federal prison under a compassionate release program, is seeking an easing of his probation restrictions.

Lawyers for DiMasi have asked the judge who allowed his early release to lift the condition that the 71-year-old, who battled two cancers while incarcerated, be strictly confined to his home. Instead, they are asking that DiMasi abide by a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew.

Lawyers say the curfew would give DiMasi the flexibility to attend more hospital and therapy visits and to participate in more exercise programs at the local YMCA, including a “Live Strong” class for cancer patients.

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Currently, DiMasi is only allowed to leave his home for medical appointments, an hour of exercise at the YMCA Monday through Friday, and to attend church. DiMasi has complied with the probation conditions, but his lawyers argue in the Monday filing that the conditions limit the amount of therapies and exercise programs he can attend. In one case, they argued, he could not take a prescription drug because neither he nor a family member could go to the pharmacy to get a refill.

The probation restrictions have “resulted in delays in scheduling appointments. And sometimes it has resulted in a delay in obtaining a refill of his prescriptions,” the lawyers wrote.

The lawyers noted that when he released DiMasi in November, US Senior District Judge Mark L. Wolf invited a request for loosened restrictions “if there is medical evidence to support” it.

The Monday request included a letter by DiMasi’s doctor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute saying that a more flexible schedule would allow him to attend more therapies. He also said DiMasi’s health has been improving.

“We are all working hard to assist Mr. DiMasi during this difficult recovery period and would appreciate any special accommodation that can be made on his behalf,” Dr. Robert Haddad wrote in the letter.

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Prosecutors did not contest the request and instead deferred to the federal probation department, which has endorsed the request, according to DiMasi’s lawyers.

DiMasi was convicted in 2011 of taking $65,000 in kickbacks in exchange for using the power of his office to help a Burlington software company win $17.5 million in state contracts. Sentenced to eight years in prison, he was slated to be released in 2018.

After he was incarcerated, DiMasi was diagnosed with two cancers, including cancer on his tongue, which made eating and swallowing difficult, and he suffered from a preexisting heart condition. After lawyers advocated on his behalf, Wolf agreed to free DiMasi early under a compassionate release program for sick and elderly inmates, saying he should be treated at home with his family rather than in prison.


Milton J. Valencia can be reached at milton.valencia@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MiltonValencia.