Trash king Rizzo gets temporary reprieve from prison
Detroit – A federal judge dumped trash titan Chuck Rizzo back on the streets Tuesday, granting temporary freedom despite concerns he might commit suicide.
U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland granted Rizzo’s request to be temporarily released from custody so he can arrange personal affairs before serving a more than five-year federal prison sentence for his central role in a widespread corruption scandal.
Rizzo, 47, of Bloomfield Hills, sought release from custody to plan school options for a cognitively disabled son, ease the transition into a new school for another son and help his family financially prepare for his absence.
His release is an unexpected twist considering Rizzo was free on bond before pleading guilty in the corruption scandal. He violated bond conditions, however, by contacting an FBI witness and was jailed in February ahead of his sentencing last week.
Federal prosecutors fought the bid for bond, noting that a relative reported that Rizzo previously made repeated comments about committing suicide in late 2016. A family reunion before Rizzo reports to federal prison might spark an “emotional breakdown,” prosecutors said.
“In a letter to the court, Rizzo’s family member stated that Rizzo ‘started unraveling at this point, to the point where he wanted to end his own life, always saying he wanted to put a gun in his mouth and pull the trigger,’” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.
Rizzo’s lawyers wrote in a court filing that he has undergone therapeutic treatment and argued that being released from custody before serving the prison sentence will give him “peace of mind.”
In freeing Rizzo on Tuesday, the judge said there is no indication the former trash titan is contemplating suicide.
“And while (Rizzo) will certainly be upset to leave his family once again, that he might have an emotional breakdown seems speculative at best,” Cleland wrote. “The concerns raised by the government are not inconsequential but the court does not find that they weigh substantially against release.”
The judge ordered Rizzo to surrender at an undisclosed federal prison on an undisclosed date.
His travel is restricted to the eastern district of Michigan and he must report once a week to a court official. Rizzo also is barred from contacting co-defendants, witnesses and victims.