U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., was released from a federal lockup near Scranton last month to serve the rest of his sentence in either a halfway house or under house arrest in Philadelphia, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has confirmed.
Fattah, a Philadelphia Democrat who served 20 years in Congress, was convicted in 2016 of misusing more than $600,000 in federal grants and charitable funds and was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.
Neither Fattah’s attorney, Sam Silver, not the prison bureau would comment to local media on why Fattah was released early from lockup, but his release appears to have been the call of the Bureau of Prisons.
Fattah has long been attempting to have his sentence – one of the longest ever vetted out to a member of Congress – reduced. While a court of appeals in 2018 threw out some of the bribery from Fattah’s conviction, a judge last year kept his 10-year sentence intact.
During his sentencing in 2016, U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle called the Philadelphia-area lawmaker’s crimes “astonishing” given that he and his TV anchor wife had a $500,000 annual income that put them at or near the “top 1 percent.”
The jury in his case found the congressman took an illegal $1 million loan to prop up a failed 2007 run for Philadelphia mayor. Fattah then repaid it with funds that included NASA grant money steered through an education nonprofit run by former staffers.
Prosecutors say he also used $27,000 in charity funds to pay down his son’s college loans and took an $18,000 bribe to help a friend become an ambassador.
Fattah insists the Justice Department racketeering case is politically motivated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.