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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Judge grants Kilpatrick friend Bobby Ferguson compassionate release

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U.S. Marshal
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Associated Press DETROIT (AP) -  A Detroit contractor who got millions of dollars of city work through extortion will be released early from prison. Judge Nancy Edmunds is citing Bobby Ferguson's health. But the judge also says it would be unfair to keep Ferguson locked up when former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was released by President Donald Trump.

"It would be inequitable to require Defendant to complete the lengthy sentence originally imposed while the more culpable co-defendant, who initially received an even lengthier sentence, has been released," Edmunds wrote.

Ferguson has hypertension, high cholesterol, and reduced lung capacity—conditions that all put him at greater risk for COVID-19. According to the opinion, Ferguson says he has "strong support" from his wife and five adult children, and he'll live with his wife upon release.

The government argued that Ferguson's health does not meet the criteria for "extradordinary and compelling," nor did the commutation of Kilpatrick's sentence. In her opinion, Judge Edmunds wrote that "that a combination of these circumstances constitutes extraordinary and compelling reasons here."

In 2013, Ferguson and Kilpatrick were convicted of racketeering conspiracy, extortion and bribery. Evidence showed Kilpatrick went to bat for his buddy and punished other contractors who didn't make room for Ferguson on excavation projects. Ferguson has been in prison for eight years of a 21-year sentence. Kilpatrick served more than seven years.

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