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Judge Orders ‘Compassionate Release’ Of Jailed Former Civil Rights Lawyer

Former attorney Lynne Stewart says goodbye to friends and supporters as she reports to prison on Nov. 19, 2009 in New York. (credit: Getty Images)

Former attorney Lynne Stewart says goodbye to friends and supporters as she reports to prison on Nov. 19, 2009 in New York. (credit: Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) –A federal judge in Manhattan ordered a “compassionate release” Tuesday from prison for a dying former civil rights lawyer.

The U.S. government requested the release earlier in the day for Lynne Stewart, who was convicted in a terrorism case. Prosecutors say Stewart, 74, suffers from recurrent stage-four breast cancer. She was not scheduled to be released until August 2018.

U.S. District Judge John Koeltl had said he could not release her early without a recommendation for from prison authorities. The director of the Bureau of Prisons made the request through Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

“The defendant’s terminal medical condition and very limited life expectancy constitute extraordinary and compelling reasons that warrant the requested reduction” in her prison sentence, Koeltl’s order said.

He said Stewart will be released when her medical condition allows for it and travel arraignments can be made. She has been undergoing treatment in Carswell, Texas.

her lawyer said she’s “elated'” and that Stewart could be let out as early as Tuesday night.

Stewart has been imprisoned since 2009 after she was convicted of helping a blind Egyptian sheik, Omar Abdel-Rahman, communicate with his followers from prison.

Abdel-Rahman was convicted in 1996 of plotting to bomb a number of landmarks in New York City. He was sentenced to life in prison.

If she is released, Stewart would live with her son in Brooklyn, CNN reported.

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