From gun-toting rappers to sleazy politicians, criminals all over the world are using the coronavirus pandemic as way to weasel out of prison time.
Celebrity jailbirds from New York City to England — including Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, disgraced comic Bill Cosby and accused document-leaking spy Julian Assange — are demanding to be sprung due to the deadly bug.
Here are their crimes, their excuses for release and what judges have to say about it.
Rap sheet: The 53-year-old “I Believe I Can Fly” singer is accused of sexual exploitation of a minor and child pornography and is awaiting trial at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.
Why I should be free: Kelly argues that the fact he recently underwent surgery for a hernia along with his age put him at risk of contracting the virus. He also says some of his fellow inmates have been quarantined with with flu-like symptoms.
Rap sheet: The big mouthed 49-year-old lawyer, known for representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuits against President Trump, tried to extort millions of dollars from the athletic wear company Nike. He was awaiting sentencing at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.
Why I should be free: Avenatti says he’s at high risk of contracting coronavirus because he had a recent bout with pneumonia, and his cellmate was removed due to flu-like symptoms.
Result: Approved. A judge allowed him to be temporarily freed in order to ride out the pandemic at a friend’s house in Los Angeles.
Rap sheet: Madoff ran the largest Ponzi scheme in history, scamming 4,800 clients out of $64.8 billion. He was sentenced to 150 years behind bars and is doing the time at the Federal Correctional Complex in Butner, N.C.
Why I should be free: The disgraced 81-year-old Ponzi king says he has terminal kidney disease, which puts him at risk of contracting the virus, and the “federal prison system has consistently shown an inability to respond to major crises.”
Rap sheet: The Brooklyn-born hip-hop star pleaded guilty to gang-related racketeering, assault, firearms offenses and drug trafficking. He was sentenced to two years behind bars and was serving time at a private prison in Queens.
Why I should be free: The 23-year-old rainbow-haired rapper says his asthma puts him at risk of death if he contracts the virus behind bars.
Result: Approved. A Manhattan federal court judge ordered him released “immediately” into home confinement, citing “extraordinary and compelling” medical reasons.
Rap sheet: The 82-year-old former comic great drugged and sexually assaulted Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his home in 2004. He was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison, and is behind bars at the State Correctional Institution Phoenix prison in Skippack Township, Penn.
Why I should be free: Cosby, once considered America’s TV dad, says at least one prison officer has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Pennsylvania jail where he’s incarcerated. His spokesman says he is “elderly and blind” and has close contact with prison “workers who take him to his medical appointments.”
What he did: The notorious “Pharma Bro” jacked up the price of the AIDS drug Daraprim nearly 5,000 percent in 2015. He was convicted of fraud and is serving a seven-year prison sentence at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn for scamming investors in hedge funds he ran.
Why I should be free: Shkreli, 37, always known as an online troll, claims he wants to help research a treatment for the coronavirus, saying that authorities should let him out for three months so he can do laboratory work “under strict supervision.”
What he did: The disgraced New York state senator used his powerful position to get his son Adam cash and jobs. He was convicted, sentenced to five years behind bars and is doing time at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Conn.
Why I should be free: He asked to finish his sentence in home confinement because the virus has spread through federal prisons.
Result: Released. The 72-year-old former Albany powerbroker was allowed to go into home custody Wednesday after testing positive for the coronavirus.
What he did:The WikiLeaks founder is awaiting trial at the Belmarsh prison in London for allegedly violating espionage laws when he published a series of leaks given to him by US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
Why I should be free: Assange, 48, applied for bail, saying the virus caused him to fear for his life at the Belmarsh prison in London.
Rap sheet: The Gambino mob soldier conspired to whack a government witness at a Staten Island strip club in 1998. He pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 20 years and is serving time at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Conn.
Why I should be free: He says he’s “sick as dog” and suffering from COVID-19. He seeks immediate release into home confinement.
Juan Angel Napout
Rap sheet: The ex-FIFA soccer honcho accepted tens of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for TV marketing rights and was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering and other charges. He was convicted, sentenced to nine years and doing time at the Federal Correctional Institution in Miami.
Why I should be free: Napout, 61, says he filed a request for compassionate release because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Result: Denied. A judge rejected him, saying “the court does not find that defendant’s particular circumstances, as they relate to the COVID-19 pandemic, justify his release.” He added that Napout is a flight risk.
Genaro García Luna
Rap sheet: Mexico’s former top cop is awaiting trial at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn for allegedly taking millions of dollars in bribes stuffed inside suitcases from Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s notorious Sinaloa cartel.
Why I should be free: The 51-year-old says he faces a high risk of contracting COVID-19 if he stays behind bars in Brooklyn, where inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Result: Denied. A judge says he’s a flight risk.
Rap sheet: The Born to Kill gang kingpin was responsible for murdering a state’s witness, committing robberies engaging in an extortion scheme in Chinatown. He was convicted, sentenced to life and is being held at a federal medical facility in Massachusetts.
Why I should be free: Thai says his ailing health puts him in danger of serious illness if he contracts COVID-19. If released, he plans to hole up with his sister and brother-in-law in Texas.
Source: New York Post