NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) -- A former member of the Virginia General Assembly says he was assaulted while serving time in a federal prison.

Former State Delegate Phil Hamilton says he was beaten with a padlock in a sock on Christmas Eve at the Federal Correctional Facility at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Hamilton was more than five years into his nine-and-half year sentence on bribery and extortion convictions, when he says the attack happened.

It was 2:45 a.m. on December 24th.

Hamilton and I were friendly years ago, and we'd recently been corresponding by U.S. Mail. In fact, I was negotiating with the warden's office to do an on-camera interview with him at the prison, when suddenly, my request was denied.

Then a letter from Hamilton shed light on why.

He wrote: "I was attacked/assaulted by being hit with a padlock in a sock."

Since then, Hamilton has written that he is being held in maximum security detention for 23 hours per day, is only allowed to shower three times per week, and -- because of bright lights in his new cell -- suffers from sleep deprivation.

Hamilton's daughter has now shared word of the attack on her Facebook page, writing, "We need prayers for a miracle."

"It was very disturbing news," said former 91st District Delegate and Hamilton's friend, Tom Gear. "I've been e-mailing with Phil ever since he was in the camp. And I've been up to see him twice. And it's very disturbing that he would be attacked in this camp, when it's supposed to be one of the safest places when you're in federal custody."

Gear says he hopes something good comes of this for his friend Hamilton.

"I'm hoping he would be taken out of solitary confinement," he said. "He was attacked. He was not that the attacker. So I would hope they would transfer him, or let him come home with supervision, something like that. He's been there five years. How much more does he have to pay?"

13News Now reached out to the warden's office at Fort Dix, but our request for the incident report was denied because, we were told, it is not considered public information.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine is weighing in. A spokesperson for the Democrat told 13News Now:

“Senator Kaine is alarmed by reports of assault against former Delegate Hamilton. Our office is in touch with Mr. Hamilton’s family and our casework team is assisting them..”