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Feds oppose prison postponement for Pilot Flying J ex-pres

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say the former president of the largest U.S. fuel retailer should celebrate Christmas in prison.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports Assistant U.S. Attorney Trey Hamilton responded this week to Mark Hazelwood’s request to delay reporting to prison for his role in a scheme to defraud trucking companies.

With Hazelwood’s surrender postponed until after Thanksgiving, his lawyers now argue he should be granted Christmas and New Year’s Day, too. They cite his “devout” Christian faith. The prosecutor says prisoners get “equitable opportunities to pursue religious beliefs.”

Hazelwood’s lawyers also note that two other former Pilot Flying J employees have until Jan. 7 to surrender, but Hamilton says Hazelwood’s 12 ½-year sentence and financial resources make him more of a flight risk.

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Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com

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