LAS VEGAS (CN) - A conservative radio talk show host who served 4 years in prison for laundering drug money claims he was tossed into solitary confinement for months to punish him for contacting local media to ask if he could write a column when he gets out. Walter "Eddie" Floyd Jr. sued the warden of the Terminal Island prison, and others, in Federal Court.
Floyd, the owner of several Reno-area businesses and former host of "Nevada Matters" on KDBD 1400 AM in northern Nevada, was sentenced to 4 years at Terminal Island in 2007 after leasing 260 acres of land in Doyle, Calif., to a man to grow pot, authorities said.
In August 2008, Floyd says in his federal complaint, he wrote a letter to the editor of an unspecified "Reno and Sparks periodical of general circulation expressing a desire and/or interest in writing a column after his release."
The next month, Floyd says, he was placed in disciplinary segregation without notice and without any charges filed against him.
He says he learned 2 months later from an unnamed officer that he was being held for "unauthorized contact with the media."
Floyd says that "there is no such charge or disciplinary action for unauthorized contact with the media." He claims that his due process rights were violated because he did not receive fair notice of a rule before being sanctioned.
He also claims his removal from the general prison population was retaliation for his work with the Terminal Island Times, an "informative newsletter" he distributed with permission from the prison's Supervisor of Education.
Floyd says he was allowed to teach a journalism class to fellow prisoners.
Floyd, who suffers with osteomyelitis, a chronic condition that impairs his ability to bend at the waist, says he was subjected to "cruel and unusual punishment" by being forced to stand for hours and kneel down.
He claims he was denied pain medication and was strip-searched daily, "even though he never left his cell and was always in a secure and watchful environment by prison staff."
According to the Justice Department, Floyd and his son provided land, known as "Doyle Ski Ranch," to another man to harvest marijuana. The feds say Floyd also drafted a bogus lease to cover monthly rent payments totaling $37,500.
Authorities also say Floyd gave the man 500,000 shares of "Nevada Matters" stock in exchange for nearly $128,000 in drug money.
In 2007, a federal judge sentenced Floyd to 4 years in prison instead of the maximum 20-year term after receiving a "remarkable" number of letters from northern Nevada residents in support of Floyd.
Floyd seeks at least $1 million for civil rights violations. Named as defendants are Terminal Island Warden Joseph Woodring, Bureau of Prisons Lt. (fnu) Broadhead, Bureau of Prisons employee Dr. Evelyn Castro, the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the United States of America.
Floyd is represented by Steven Yarmy.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.