Judge orders early prison release of father of '63 Birmingham church bombing victim

A judge is ordering the early release from prison of a former Alabama politician whose daughter died in a racist church bombing in 1963.

U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith on Thursday ordered the release of Chris McNair. The decision came after the Justice Department sought McNair's freedom on grounds of compassion.

The judge says the 87-year-old should be freed as soon as possible because of his age and deteriorating health.

McNair is a former Jefferson County commissioner convicted of taking thousands in bribes. He was part of a scandal-plagued commission whose actions helped lead to a record municipal bankruptcy in 2011.

McNair also is the father of Denise McNair, one of the four black girls killed when Ku Klux Klansmen bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.