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Former powerbroker Michael Segal released early from prison

Michael Segal Tuesday May 29 2012 with his attorney Marc Martafter his early release

Michael Segal on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 with his attorney, Marc Martin after his early release

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Updated: July 3, 2012 12:41PM

Michael Segal once spent more than $200,000 on high-end call girls, the feds say.

He bought the finest from Tiffany, Escada and Ermenegildo Zegna.

A onetime political powerbroker and insurance millionaire, he dined at Gene & Georgetti’s steakhouse with the movers and shakers, and fed his dog, Snoopy, there too.

On Tuesday, with his business empire in tatters, Segal, 69, had just one wish, after spending nearly eight years behind bars for looting millions of dollars out of his company, Near North Insurance, to pay, in part, for a lavish lifestyle.

He wanted to go home a few months early.

After exhaustively battling the federal government in court for more than a decade — and usually losing — Segal scored a rare victory, albeit a small one.

Segal, 69, walked out of the federal courthouse in Chicago Tuesday afternoon a free man, humble but happy, he said.

“It’s been a very long and difficult journey for me,” Segal said.

Segal had been scheduled to be released in October to home confinement, but a federal appellate court ruled he could be resentenced given a recent Supreme Court decision.

U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo gave Segal a break and put him on three years of supervised release and ordered 120 hours of community service, letting him out of 131 days of prison time. He said Segal never showed any remorse for his crimes but wasn’t going to hold it against him.

Segal told the judge he was a changed man, and Castillo said he hoped that was true.

“I stand before you very humbled and emotional,” Segal said, his voice breaking at times as he addressed the judge.

He added later, “I think I’m a different person than I was eight years ago, sir.”

Segal’s stiff sentence in 2005 “was a sentence I hoped would deter others,” the judge said. “I was hoping it would significantly dent white-collar crimes in this district, and I would be the first to admit that it hasn’t.”

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