Michael “Harry-O” Harris, the founder of Death Row Records, is asking for a compassionate release from prison due to contracting the virus and his reported compromised immune system, according to The Mercury News.
Harris, 58, who is currently serving a 19-year sentence for federal convictions of cocaine trafficking, suffers from a condition called Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which weakens the immune system and attacks the nerves. His lawyers argue that since he has contracted COVID-19 while in prison, he is more vulnerable due to the way the virus and his disease could potentially react to each other.
The former Los Angeles drug kingpin is scheduled to be released in Oct. 2028.
According to filings by his attorneys, Harris “suffered badly for around a week and remains in a fatigued and weakened condition.”
The judge has not yet ruled on Harris’ motion, which argues if he does not get real medical attention, he could suffer full-on paralysis from the disease or death.
“Due to the outbreak, Mr. Harris and the rest of the inmate population were confined under complete 24-hour lockdown, without access to telephones, email, or any other means to contact their attorneys,” Harris’ attorneys wrote in court filings.
“I will always wear the internal shame of hurting others for my own personal gain and greed. So I say, there is no punishment on earth that can match or equal the pain I have caused throughout my years of drug peddling and I pray to our creator to forgive me for helping to bring harm to his precious creations,” Harris wrote in a letter to the court.
The Federal Correctional Institution Lompoc, where Harris is currently incarcerated, has gained national attention for its failure to contain the virus. The ACLU reportedly sued the prison for its negligence, given 1,700 cases and two deaths have been reported there. Harris further explained that he and other prisoners are “surrounded by the COVID-19 coronavirus disease in a dorm with 250 men…with at least half suffering from underlying medical conditions.”