Fugitive Fundraiser Now in Jail
Just a week ago, businessman Norman Hsu was a free man, and little known by most Americans. Then came stories about his fundraising for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, which generated just enough national limelight to remind California authorities he skipped out on a criminal case 15 years ago. Now Hsu could spend the Labor Day weekend in a San Mateo, Calif., jail.
Hsu, who runs a New York apparel business, surrendered to California authorities today to answer the early 1990s charge and San Mateo County Superior Court Judge H. James Ellis ordered him held on $2 million bond until a hearing next Wednesday, his Washington lawyer said.
"He did turn himself in to the folks in San Mateo, and is being held over the weekend, at least until a bail hearing on Wednesday," attorney Lawrence Barcella said.
Hsu had been a fugitive since a warrant was issued for his arrest after he skipped sentencing for a 1991 grand theft charge. He became a major fundraiser for Democrats like Clinton. When his fundraising work was highlighted by The Wall Street Journal earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times followed up with a story on the outstanding warrant.
"He had pleaded no contest to the theft charge and then ended up not showing up for the sentencing and that will resolve itself however it resolves itself," Barcella explained.
Numerous candidates who received donations from Hsu have since given the money back or donated it to charity. Clinton's campaign announced Wednesday it would donate to charity $23,000 in contributions that Hsu made to her presidential and senatorial campaigns and her political action committee. Sen. Barack Obama's campaign also announced it was giving back $7,000 Hsu had donated to Obama's causes over the years.
Barcella said he suspects all the publicity resulted in Hsu being held on a higher bail than normal. "The higher the visibility is the lower chances of doing something like this normally," he said.
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