xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Former Baltimore state Sen. Nathaniel Oaks asks for release from prison due to coronavirus concerns

Sen. Nathaniel Oaks, center, along with his attorneys walk into federal court for his sentencing in 2018.
Sen. Nathaniel Oaks, center, along with his attorneys walk into federal court for his sentencing in 2018. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun)

Nathaniel Oaks, the convicted former Baltimore state senator, is asking for “compassionate release” due to health concerns as prisons grapple with the coronavirus.

Oaks, 73, has served 20 months of his sentence of three-and-a-half years, which followed a guilty plea to federal corruption charges. In a handwritten letter, Oaks said that his significant medical history means that contracting the coronavirus would “likely lead to his death.”

Advertisement

Oaks said he has suffered from asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and respiratory conditions including pneumonia. He said his blood pressure as of January has been “out of control, causing his doctors great concern.”

“If he is granted compassionate release, he will not be a threat to or a burden on society,” Oaks wrote.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Oaks’ request has not been ruled on; the clerk’s office for the U.S. District Court instructed him to contact the federal public defender’s office, which has been filing mountains of requests for release on behalf of defendants fearing the COVID-19 outbreak. The Bureau of Prisons has not disclosed any positive cases at the Virginia facility where Oaks is being held.

Oaks admitted to taking $15,300 from an FBI informant, who posed as an out-of-town developer and enlisted Oaks in a scheme to defraud the federal government.

The FBI had set up a sting that led to Oaks’ meeting the informant over dinner in 2015. Oaks ultimately agreed to help the informant defraud the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and to draft a bond bill to aid a supposed housing project the informant wanted to carry out in Baltimore.

Prosecutors later brought an obstruction-of-justice charge against Oaks, alleging that he agreed to help the FBI only to sabotage the investigation by tipping off the target.

Before ascending to the state senate in 2017, Oaks served 28 years in the House of Delegates; his tenure was interrupted for five years starting in 1989 after he was convicted of stealing from his campaign fund.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement