Former GOP Rep Was To Be Released from Jail Over COVID Fears, Now Order's Been Rescinded: Report
Former Republican Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas was reportedly pulled from a list of inmates at a minimum security prison who were being transferred to home confinement amid the coronavirus pandemic, despite having several risk factors that increase his chances of dying should he contract the disease.
Stockman, who was a fierce critic of former President Barack Obama and officials in his administration, has been imprisoned for over two years so far as part of a 10-year sentence after being found guilty in April 2018 of violations of campaign-finance law and other related charges.
His wife, Patti Stockman, told The Western Journal her husband was informed in early April he was being released to home confinement as part of a policy announced by U.S. Attorney General William Barr “for combatting the dangers that COVID-19 poses to our vulnerable inmates.”
Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney to President Donald Trump, was released under this program after having served less than a year of his three-year sentence for bank fraud, tax evasion, and campaign finance violations.
According to the Bureau of Prisons website, in keeping with Barr’s guidance, over 1,800 inmates have been released to home confinement so far.
When Steve Stockman showed up at the appointed time and place to begin his 14-day quarantine prior to being released, a prison official at the federal prison he is being held in Beaumont, Texas, told him his name had been pulled from the list, according to his wife.
The Bureau of Prisons confirmed in an email to The Western Journal, “Staff at FCC Beaumont are currently reviewing all inmates for their suitability for home confinement or compassionate release.”
“However, given the fluid nature of the pandemic situation, we are just providing the total number of inmates transferred to home confinement or compassionate release across the BOP on our resource page,” the BOP Public Affairs Office added.
Patti Stockman pointed out that her husband has multiple risk factors that should make him among the most eligible to be transferred to home confinement, including being in his mid-sixties with Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
She added that his lungs are scarred from severe asthma he struggled with in years past and that he is overweight.
“Steve is a sitting duck waiting for this virus to hit, because he’s got all the risk factors,” Patti said, noting that inmates live in close quarters.
Guidance put out by Barr specifically listed among criteria for release to home confinement, “[t]he age and vulnerability of the inmate to COVID-19, in accordance to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
That guidance says people who are at higher risk for serious illness due to COVID-19 include those 65 and older, have diabetes, are severely overweight or have “moderate to severe asthma.”
At 63, Stockman is just shy of the age threshold the CDC identified, but clearly falls in the higher risk group for multiple other factors.
Another criterion the attorney general listed in considering whether inmates should be released is the security level of the facility.
Patti Stockman said her husband is housed in “the camp” at the Beaumont facility, which is the lowest level of security.
An additional criterion is the nature of the criminal conviction of the inmate, whether he or she would pose a danger to the community, such as sex offender (who would not be eligible) or other “serious offenses.”
Steve Stockman was convicted for white-collar crimes, primarily campaign-law violations and misuse of funds from nonprofits with which he was associated for campaign and personal expenses.
Among the crimes were “straw man” contributions to his campaign, which were in violation of Federal Election Commission rules.
Conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza pleaded guilty to this crime in 2014 and was sentenced to serve eight months in a detention center (in the evenings) and five years probation and pay a $30,000 fine.
President Donald Trump pardoned D’Souza in May 2018, saying the conservative was “treated very unfairly.”
Earlier this month, Patti Stockman made a direct appeal to Trump in a video to pardon her husband or commute his sentence.
“Every time I visit, it’s so hard to drive away from there and leave him a place I know he doesn’t belong,” she said. (2:15).
“Mr. President, I ask you please to intervene so that this unjust sentence that Steve is serving does not become a death penalty,” Stockman added.
Groups as diverse as the American Civil Liberties Union and Freedom Works wrote a letter to Trump late last month calling on him to commute the sentence for inmates at high health risk for serious COVID-19 illness.
Steve Stockman’s supporters — including former attorney Sidney Powell, who is currently representing former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — believe his prosecution and imprisonment was unjust.
Some see him as the victim of so-called “deep state” retaliation.
Two weeks after the conservative firebrand filed a resolution in Congress calling for the arrest of former IRS official Lois Lerner in July 2014, FBI agents showed up at his door informing the lawmaker he was the subject of a criminal investigation.
In a court pleading, Stockman’s lawyer recounted that multiple grand juries reportedly considered and rejected the charges being brought against his client, until the Justice Department was able to convince one to indict in March 2017, with led to his April 2018 conviction.
Powell, a fellow Texan who did some pro-bono work for Stockman’s legal team following his conviction, told The Western Journal at the time that justice was not served in his case.
“The ‘Public Integrity’ section of the Department of Justice is wrongly named. It is notorious for political prosecutions,” she said.
“It is highly likely they targeted former Congressman Stockman and have been extremely and unreasonably harsh toward him because he was so outspoken in trying to hold Lois Lerner, the Clintons, and Obama accountable.”
The attorney and author of the book “Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice” added that the DOJ clearly had “an enemies list” that included the lawmaker “and they acted on it.”
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