Two years into his prison sentence, Vincent J. Fumo has long hair and a beard. He's gained weight. And he's very depressed.
That was the capsule portrait of the former state senator sketched Monday by his lead attorney, Dennis J. Cogan, shortly after a federal judge set the date - Nov. 9 - for Fumo's resentencing hearing for his sweeping corruption conviction.
There have been other travails behind bars for the once powerful Philadelphia Democrat.
After a federal appeals court last month ordered Fumo to be resentenced, overzealous prison authorities, somehow thinking he now posed a new threat, threw him into the hole for two days at the prison in Ashland, Ky.
They let him out of solitary only after appeals from defense lawyers and prosecutors.
And prison officials have turned down Fumo for addiction therapy, despite his well-documented past heavy use of Xanax and other drugs, Cogan said. Enrollment could have gotten Fumo a year shaved off his 55-month sentence.
Fumo, 68, got another dose of unwanted news at the hearing Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter rejected Fumo's request that he take part in the resentencing via a remote video hookup from the prison camp at Ashland.
Like most inmates, Fumo will have to appear in person, the judge ruled, after undergoing a possibly rigorous trip to Philadelphia via prison transport.
When Buckwalter sentenced Fumo in 2009, the punishment was widely criticized as too lenient. But last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that Buckwalter had made numerous legal mistakes in his sentencing and ordered him to do it over.
Now, prosecutors are hoping that Buckwalter will be forced to jack up Fumo's sentence significantly. The defense hopes the judge will merely fix technical errors in his sentencing process - and then reinstate the same term.
At Tuesday's hearing - Fumo was not there - another of his lawyers, Peter Goldberger, said Fumo wanted to appear via closed-circuit television to avoid the arduous and demeaning travel itinerary often followed by the U.S. Marshal's to transport prisoners.
Known even by U.S. Marshals as "Con Air," the air service and subsequent bus trips are loathed by many inmates. Conceivably, Goldberger said, the marshals might fly Fumo from Kentucky to Oklahoma, and then to Brooklyn. From there, Goldberger said, Fumo might have to ride a prison bus to Philadelphia.
"It's a terrible experience," Goldberger said. Cogan said later that cons call it "diesel therapy."
Assistant U.S. Attorneys John J. Pease and Robert A. Zauzmer told the judge they took no position on Fumo's request, though Pease called it highly unusual.
Buckwalter said he'd look into Fumo's travel arrangements, but otherwise wanted him present in court.
"I like to see the person face to face," the judge said. "Maybe I'm old fashioned, but looking at a screen doesn't give me the experience I'd like to have when I talk with a person."
Had the judge let him stay in Kentucky, Fumo would be spared the embarrassment of entering the sentencing courtroom in handcuffs. U.S. marshals remove them once a hearing begins. He will be able to change into civilians clothes before the session.
With a new sentencing now less than two months off, the long-running Fumo drama is now moving swiftly to its conclusion.
While sentencing sentenced Fumo in 2009, Buckwalter lashed out at prosecutors, his mouth tight and his eyes angry, suggesting they had hyped their case. On Monday, now rebuked by an appeals court, Buckwalter was back to being genial again, saying he wanted to move swiftly.
"It's always a pleasure to see you fellows here," he said to the two prosecutors and Fumo's three-lawyer team, "though I'm not sure why."
Fumo, a dominant political figure in Harrisburg and Philadelphia for almost three decades, was convicted of all 137 counts he faced. The federal jury found he had defrauded the Senate and a pair of nonprofit organizations and tried to obstruct the FBI's investigation.
With time off for good behavior, Fumo is looking at release in August 2013 - unless Buckwalter gives him more time.
In extended remarks with reporters after the hearing, Cogan said prison had been tough on Fumo, inmate no. 62033-066.
While other federal inmates from the Philadelphia region are imprisoned in Pennsylvania or South Jersey facilities, Fumo was sent to a prison 500 miles away, his Cogan said.
Fumo's fiancee, Carolyn Zinni, has been driving the round trip every other weekend, but the distance has meant Fumo has had few other visitors, Cogan said.
With his longer hair and beard (grown to hide a rash on his face), Cogan said Fumo looks far different from the carefully coiffed power player with swept-back hair he was in Philadelphia.
In Ashland, Fumo hasn't embraced an exercise routine and has gained pounds, something the former senator blames on the carbs-heavy prison diet, Cogan said.
Fumo's mood is not great, the lawyer said: "He's depressed, very depressed."
Cogan said Fumo had gone through a doubly harrowing ordeal once the Third Circuit ruled last month.
For one thing, Cogan said, his client was bitterly disappointed at the ruling itself, even though the appeals court had telegraphed its discontent with Buckwalter during oral arguments.
"He was extremely disappointed," Cogan said of Fumo's reaction to the new sentencing. "When you're in jail, you grasp at all hope."
Then, before he'd even had time to digest it, prison officials in Kentucky transferred Fumo - otherwise a model inmate who's been teaching classes - into the Segregated Housing Unit.
Somehow, Cogan said, top prison officials misconstrued the appeals court ruling as mandating that Fumo be given a much longer prison term. This, in turn, made them view him as a more dangerous inmate and possible escape risk.
In the segregated unit, Fumo was cut off from his numerous medicines - and from his allies and lawyers.
His family was terrified. Fumo's youngest daughter, Allie, "must have called 30 times in the course of an hour," seeking help for her father, Cogan said.
With backing from prosecutors Pease and Zauzmer, defense lawyers sprung him from the unit after two days. Even so, Cogan said, it took another couple of days for Fumo's medicine regimen to be put back on track, leaving him a touch disoriented in the meantime.
As Fumo's faced incarceration, his lawyers unsuccessfully sought to delay the report date by arguing he needed a few months to detox from numerous prescription drugs, notably Xanax, the anxiety medication; Ambien, a sleep agent; and Darvocet, a painkiller for his back.
After the hearing, Cogan complained that said prison officials had refused to enroll Fumo in the drug-treatment program, the successful completion of which would have reduced his time.
"We don't know who intervened," Cogan said, of the denial.