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Hsu Ordered to Prison


Norman Hsu in court, Sept. 2007. (AP).

By Matthew Mosk
It may not be the final chapter of his saga, but disgraced political mega-bundler Norman Hsu today lost his bid to have a 16-year-old fraud conviction tossed out. He was ordered to serve out a three year jail sentence, California authorities said.

California Superior Court Judge Stephen Hall affirmed the sentence that Hsu had initially agreed to serve in 1992. Before going to jail, Hsu jumped bail and fled the country. Hall rejected a motion Hsu had made arguing that his right to a speedy trial had been breeched because no one pursued him during his years as a fugitive.

Several years after he fled, Hsu returned to the U.S. and became a prolific political fundraiser and donor for Democrats. He rose to become one of the top bundlers for Sen. Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, raising more than $800,000 for her bid. That position brought attention, and ultimately, a fresh focus on his past misdeeds. After news accounts revealed the outstanding warrant, Hsu initially pledged cooperation with authorities, but then jumped bail a second time. He was picked up by the FBI in Colorado after allegedly attempting suicide on an Amtrak train.

Clinton returned the donations Hsu had gathered on her behalf, and her campaign has removed him from the public list of "Hillraisers" that identifies people who have contributed more than $100,000 to her effort.

The unexpected revelations about Hsu's past also led to fresh allegations that he had swindled investors on both coasts out of more than $40 million as part of a bogus clothing import business. Federal prosecutors in New York secured an indictment on the new fraud charges late last year.

A message left with Hsu's California attorney, James Brosnahan, was not returned.

"The next step is for federal authorities to pick him up," said Gareth Lacy, a spokesman for the California attorney general's office. "He'll be held here until he is sent to New York to face those charges."

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 4, 2008; 3:59 PM ET
 
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