Last updated: March 25. 2014 4:36PM - 2048 Views
By - rdupuis@civitasmedia.com

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WILKES-BARRE — A hearing on a defense motion to have ailing former state Sen. Raphael Musto sent home from a federal medical facility has been scheduled for April 1.

Judge A. Richard Caputo signed an order setting the proceeding, which will be held at the Max Rosenn U.S. Courthouse on South Main Street.

Lawyers for Musto on Monday filed a motion asking the judge to send the 84-year-old home from FMC Butner in North Carolina, where he has been committed since Feb. 3.

Caputo in January ruled that Musto, of Pittston Township, was physically able to go to trial on corruption charges, but was mentally incompetent to do so. Caputo then ordered Musto to be put in custody of the attorney general. He subsequently was admitted to FMC Butner.

The defense argues that a recent cancer diagnosis will compromise Musto’s ability to stand trial, possibly permanently so. If he undergoes chemotherapy, they say, the treatment could seriously compromise Musto’s cognitive ability. If he does not undergo the treatment, Musto could have as little as two months to live, lawyers say FMC Butner medical staff told them.

They also want Musto to be evaluated by local doctors, and proposed that if Musto does return home, his competency for trial could be evaluated again in another four months.

Caputo gave the government until March 31 to file its response.

“The United States Attorney’s Office has no comment at the present time,” spokeswoman Amanda L. Endy wrote in an e-mail this afternoon.

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