As we’d heard earlier, former lobbyist Rusty Cranford, serving an 84-month sentence in a negotiated plea in the Preferred Family Healthcare public corruption case, will be transferred to home confinement tomorrow thanks to coronavirus.
He’s to leave the minimum security satellite camp the federal prison at Texarkana this morning, check in with a halfway house and then be at his home in nearby Douglassville, a source said.
I’d reported earlier that Cranford, 59, had been seeking compassionate release because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. attorney had opposed a request in federal court for such an order, saying Cranford still had administrative appeals left with the Bureau of Prisons. The Bureau of Prisons yesterday said for security reasons it wouldn’t give me information about prisoner release but pointed me to a succession of guidelines from the Justice Department to encourage home confinement during the pandemic, including this one April 3. It urged release first for inmates in prisons with outbreaks. Texarkana has no COVID-19 cases, according to a recent court filing in Springfield.
The directive from Attorney General William Barr also said prisons should review all inmates with COVID-19 risk factors listed by the CDC (Cranford has several health conditions) “not only those previously eligible for transfer.” Cranford was not previously viewed as eligible because he hadn’t served 50 percent of his sentence or only had 18 months left having served 25 percent. He’s served about 29 months of his 84-month sentence, much of it in a county jail in Missouri as he met repeatedly with prosecutors and a Grand Jury to provide information for prosecutors.
Cranford’s attorney in his criminal case today withdrew a request for a release order from the federal judge in the Springfield, Mo., case because it is moot. “Defendant Cranford will be released to home confinement by the Federal Bureau of Prisons on August 5, 2020,” Nathan Garrett wrote.
Cranford was indicted in February 2018 and held until his guilty plea without bail because of a threat he’d reportedly made toward another witness. He has cooperated with authorities and Garrett has said he expects Cranford to get a sentence reduction for his cooperation. He’ll be electronically monitored in home confinement.
Cranford figures in several of the cases that led to the indictment of five former legislators and others. He’s expected to be a witness in the one related case still pending (though the larger investigation has been said to be ongoing). That is the case of two former top officials of Preferred Family Healthcare, a multi-state nonprofit that took in tens of millions in Medicaid and other funds. Its former employees and associates have been charged with funneling illegal political contributions and bribes to politicians.