By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The defense for an allegedly corrupt former Philadelphia police officer is fighting for his freedom — very limited freedom — pending trial. The defense now has motions pending before the trial and appeals court.

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Thomas Liciardello, the alleged ringleader, is the only one of the six defendants charged held without bail. And because he was a police officer, for his protection, he is being housed in the high security Special Housing Unit or SHU. But defense attorney Jeffrey Miller says the placement is punitive — held in a cell 23 hours a day — Liciardello is unable to participate in his defense, and it is taking a human toll.

“He’s starting to erode,” he says. “He’s becoming agitated, forgetful, at times he is crying.”

Miller says Liciardello is suffering the effects of solitary confinement.

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“He’s not convicted of anything,” he says. “He hasn’t been convicted of a crime.”

Miller disputes Liciardello is a danger to the community and has offered conditions, including 24/7 home confinement with electronic monitoring.

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