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Feds blast drug kingpin's bid for NY prison release due to stress headaches, need for vegan diet

Thomas Tracy, New York Daily News on

Published in News & Features

NEW YORK — Queens drug kingpin Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols’ bid for early release from prison due to stress headaches was blasted Friday by federal prosecutors, who said the convict’s migraine problem “is not an extraordinary and compelling reason” to be given a get-out-of-jail-free card.

The 63-year-old drug lord made his request in a letter to Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Edward Korman on Aug. 15, claiming he was worried about his declining health and was suffering from “stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic.”

He also claimed that his grandson, sister and niece died in recent years and has been denied a vegan diet in federal prison.

“Although I try to stay strong, the stress is weighting me down, and has raised my blood pressure,” he wrote. “I am fearful of my health rapidly declining under these conditions. I have now developed migraines after receiving news of being incarcerated for four more years due to miscalculations and a failure to inform of a probation violation in which I was never charged, sentenced, nor knew existed.”

Nichols was hit with a 25-to-life state sentence, and a concurrent 40-year federal sentence, after pleading guilty in 1992 to arranging the murder of parole officer Brian Rooney and killing two others, including his ex-girlfriend.

He also was linked, but never charged, with the slaying of NYPD cop Eddie Byrne, 22, who was executed while sitting in his patrol car in South Jamaica, Queens, in February 1988.

After spending 34 years in state prison, the state parole board ordered him released earlier this year, sparking the anger of the city police unions. But he still owed time to the feds, even though he claimed that his time served since his arrest in 1988 wasn’t counted toward his sentence. He’s currently being held in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center

In a nine-page response to Nichols’ compassionate release letter, Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Breon Peace notes Nichols never references any diagnosed illnesses in his plea to be set free.

 

To be granted compassionate release, Nichols must provide an “extraordinary and compelling reason” or show evidence that he’s suffering from a terminal illness or impairment, Peace explained.

“He primarily complains of ‘migraines’ and other unspecified ‘various health ailments,’ including his ‘glucose and prostate levels,’' Peace wrote. “He does not references any illness; rather he asserts that he is ‘fearful’ of his health ‘rapidly declining.’

“Nichols asserts that ‘stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic’ and ‘fear’ warrant his release. But generalized anxiety is not an extraordinary and compelling reason. There is no indication that Nichols’ anxiety has caused substantial impairment or disability,” the U.S. Attorney wrote.

Peace added that Nichols never expresses any remorse for his crimes in the letter and “the government is not aware of any medical requirement that Nichols consume a vegan diet.”

Judge Korman will render his decision on Nichols’ request in a few weeks.

Even if the compassionate release is approved, he’ll have to wait for his freedom. If he’s sprung he will be shipped to Florida, where a 10-year prison sentence is looming over his head.

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©2022 New York Daily News. Visit at nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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