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Judge intervenes in prison housing for alleged crime boss

By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER

The Associated Press

HONOLULU — A Honolulu businessman accused of leading a violent organized crime ring was segregated from other inmates at a detention center beyond the 14-days of quarantine to protect against the spread of COVID-19, until a U.S. judge intervened.

Michael Miske Jr. was being held in a special housing unit, known in the federal detention system as the “SHU,” without any explanation, one of his attorneys, Lynn Panagakos, said at a hearing Thursday.

Miske was the alleged boss of a ring that committed acts including murder, kidnapping, drug trafficking, extortion, money laundering and chemical weapons attacks, U.S. authorities have said.

Miske, whose businesses included a termite and pest company and a nightclub, conspired in a murder-for-hire plot that led to the kidnapping and killing of a man in 2016, prosecutors said. He is being held without bail.

While he was segregated, Miske’s lawyers were unable to meet with him and officials at the Honolulu Federal Detention provided no explanation for why, she said.

Because a judge intervened, Miske will be moved into general population, she said.

Efforts are now being made to allow him to have meetings and phone calls with his attorneys, including video conferencing with one of his attorneys on the Mainland.

Detention center officials didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Someone who answered the phone at the center refused to take a message from The Associated Press.

“I’m very disappointed that it’s taken prodding,” said U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Mansfield. “It shouldn’t.”