CHICAGO — Former Teamsters President Roy L. Williams is so sick his doctors are "amazed that he can function at all" and he likely will die if imprisoned for conspiring to bribe a U.S. senator, his attorneys say.
But prosecutors, while acknowledging that the 70-year-old Williams is ill, say they'll argue Monday that the former union boss should be sent to a federal prison hospital in Springfield, Mo., for evaluation of his condition.
"It's premature to talk about reducing his sentence," chief prosecutor Gary Shapiro said Friday. "First we have to find out whether he can handle prison and whether prison can handle him."
Suffers From Emphysema
Williams, who suffers from emphysema, was sentenced in 1983 to a provisional 55-year sentence for conspiring to bribe then-Sen. Howard Cannon, a Nevada Democrat. Under terms of the sentence, Williams' health would be evaluated over 90 days and a final sentence imposed.
But Williams' attorneys, arguing for a reduction in sentence in court papers filed this week, said their client poses no public threat and "any incarceration, even for a short period, would likely . . . be fatal."
"Mr. Williams has a terminal heart-lung condition which has deteriorated to the state that his physicians are amazed that he can function at all," according to a document filed in response to government requests that Williams begin serving his sentence.
Four Others Convicted
Williams and four others were convicted in 1982 of conspiring to bribe Cannon with a Las Vegas land deal in return for his help in defeating trucking deregulation legislation. The bill later became law. Cannon was not charged.
Williams has been free on bond since his conviction.
Two other defendants, Andrew Massa, 67, sentenced to a year and a day, and Thomas O'Malley, 46, sentenced to 2 1/2 years, also are seeking to reduce their sentences, Shapiro said.
A fourth defendant, Joseph Lombardo, 55, a reputed crime syndicate figure, already has begun serving a 15-year sentence. The fifth, Allen Dorfman, a millionaire insurance executive, was the victim in an apparent gangland murder weeks after his conviction.