Judge denies former cable company executive, Sabres owner John Rigas bid to leave federal prison

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — John Rigas will not be going home for Christmas.

A federal judge Tuesday denied the 91-year-old terminally ill cancer patient his bid for early release.

Rigas, who is a former Buffalo Sabres owner, was sentenced in 2005 for 15 years for using Adelphia Communications Corp., once a major cable company, as his personal piggybank.

He’s been in prison for eight and a half years. Federal prosecutors opposed Rigas’s release.

While they did not challenge Rigas’s ill health, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York “vigorously contested and continues to contest,” Rigas’s attempts to overturn his conviction.

Rigas claims government misconduct. He remains at the Canaan Prison Camp in Wayne County, Pennsylvania.

United States District Judge Kimba M. Wood Tuesday ruled that Rigas’s bid fell short. She wrote that his petition failed to raise “substantial claims.”

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