Fyre Fest’s Billy McFarland petitions for early release, citing coronavirus
You can’t blame a guy for trying.
Imprisoned Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland has reportedly requested an early release from prison, citing fears of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 — less than two weeks after telling the Post exclusively he “wasn’t worried” about catching the disease, which is ravaging America’s prison population.
According to The Wrap, McFarland’s lawyers petitioned New York Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, claiming that McFarland, 28, suffers pre-existing medical conditions. These include asthma, being diagnosed “on the ‘extreme’ scale of the allergy spectrum for issues related to breathing and his cardiovascular system” and heart issues “he has experienced since his early 20s.”
McFarland’s team claim that at least 24 inmates and 14 staff members at Elkton — the low-security Ohio facility where McFarland is serving his six-year sentence — have tested positive for coronavirus, including the prison’s warden and assistant warden, who are both apparently in the hospital. Via his lawyers, McFarland said that he is being kept in a large room with 140 inmates and that 30 of them have gotten sick and been relocated. (The Columbus Dispatch reports six inmates at Elkton have died from the coronavirus.)
The lawyers argue that McFarland should be released to home confinement, which they suggest he was already a candidate for beginning in 2021. “Mr. McFarland is not a risk to the community nor a threat to public safety,” the letter reads. “The crime to which he pled guilty for was the non-violent financial crime of wire fraud. However, he is a low risk of recidivism for such financial crimes as he has explained that he has a supportive family that has attested to providing for his basic needs.”
Earlier this month, the Post exclusively reported that McFarland was attempting to launch a new initiative to crowd-fund phone calls for “in-need inmates and their families who are affected by coronavirus.” At the time, he said he was not worried about catching the coronavirus, saying “Elderly people who are at the greatest medical risk should definitely be considered for release.”
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