A federal magistrate in Springfield, Mo., today heard a request from Rusty Cranford to be released from jail pending his sentencing on his guilty plea to participating in the public corruption case involving Preferred Family Healthcare and kickbacks to Arkansas legislators.

Magistrate David Rush took the request under advisement, his courtroom deputy said.

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Cranford, a former lobbyist and employee of PFH, has been jailed 18 months in Green County since entering a guilty plea. He has argued that others awaiting sentencing, including three former legislators, are free pending sentencing. He said he’s cooperated with federal investigators and is not a risk to flee or harm anyone. He wants to spend time with family in Southwest Arkansas in advance of what’s expected to be a lengthy sentence for his crimes.

The federal government has argued for Cranford’s detention because, before he became a cooperating witness, he allegedly talked about a murder-for-hire plot against another cooperating witness. He was never charged with that.

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