A blck man with hands outside the bars of a prison cell

Ex-CEO of Adelphia Communications Corp John Rigas is currently serving 12 years in prison for his part in committing securities fraud, which eventually caused the company to collapse. He has since received a terminal cancer diagnosis and, according to his lawyers, his health is "precipitously deteriorating."

He is asking for early release due to his terminal health problems. According to the man's lawyers, Rigas was convicted in 2004 and, even without the terminal diagnosis, their client would be eligible for release in 2017.

Rigas' Attorneys Filed Petition Last Friday

Representatives for Rigas filed a petition for their client's early release last Friday in Manhattan. They are asking that their client be offered release on bail as a result of his terminal cancer.

Before the cancer diagnosis, Rigas' lawyers have been trying to overturn the ex-CEO's conviction on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct. The lawyers claim that if they do not release Rigas now, and he dies in prison, then a victory on the prosecutorial misconduct claims would be nothing more than a posthumous one.

Rigas' lawyers say that the Pennsylvania prison, in which Rigas is being held, is preparing to give Rigas a compassionate release. However, the compassionate release could take as long as six months to finalize, and Rigas' lawyers claim that their client may not have this much time.

Prosecutors Have Until Dec. 22 to Respond

Rigas is therefore requesting his immediate release on bail due to the urgency of his condition. U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood has ordered the prosecution in the criminal case to respond to the request by or before Dec. 22.

Rigas received a diagnosis of bladder cancer prior to starting his prison term. Doctors discovered that the cancer had returned a few months ago. Tragically, Rigas also was found to have cancer tumors in his kidney and lung. Rigas' family has been informed that his condition is terminal and he may require hospice care.