Imprisoned attorney furloughed to visit wife

Published 11:20 pm Monday, February 23, 2009

Imprisoned attorney Paul Minor was granted a short furlough this week to visit his sick wife.

“He got to see Sylvia for three hours (Friday). That was the extent of the furlough,” his father, journalist Bill Minor, said Saturday.

Sylvia Minor is terminally ill with cancer.

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Minor, a decorated Vietnam War veteran who made a fortune in lawsuits against tobacco, asbestos and other businesses, is serving an 11-year sentence in a federal prison in Pensacola, Fla. He was convicted in March 2007 of bribing two judges.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is scheduled to hear his appeal March 30.

Prosecutors say Minor orchestrated a complicated scheme in which he guaranteed loans for the judges, then used cash and third parties in an attempt to conceal the fact that he had paid off the loans. The judges were convicted of giving Minor’s clients favorable rulings in civil cases in exchange for the money.

Minor claims he is the victim of a political investigation by a Republican-controlled Justice Department that wanted to end his financial support of Democratic candidates. Minor said the loans were only financial help to friends and he expected nothing in return.