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Bail for U.S. political fundraiser set at US$5 million in hard cash

Bail for U.S. political fundraiser set at US$5 million in hard cash

A judge has set bail at US$5 million in cash for Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu on a charge of grand theft.
Hsu, a Hong Kong native who is wanted in California on a 1991 grand theft case, appeared by video hookup at a hearing Thursday, one week after skipping a court date in San Francisco and showing up in Grand Junction on a train so sick he had to be hospitalized.
Authorities have not disclosed the nature of his illness, but he was released from the hospital on Wednesday and booked into the Mesa County jail.
His next court date is September 19. His attorneys said Thursday that he will not fight extradition to California.
District Attorney Pete Hautzinger had asked Judge Bruce Raaum for an unprecedented US$50 million bail, noting that Hsu had skipped out on the hearing in California despite posting a US$2 million bond.
"Two million wasn't enough to keep Mr. Hsu from running," Raaum said. "We'll see if US$5 million will do it."
Hsu's lawyer, Eric Elliff, said the US$50 million request was ridiculous.
Hsu wore a yellow jail shirt for Thursday's hearing. He blinked frequently and nodded, answering "Yes" when asked if he understood the California charge and saying "Thank you" in a low voice when the hearing ended.
Hsu raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton and others until the recent disclosure of his 1991 case turned him into a major embarrassment.
Hsu was a leading money "bundler" for Clinton, earning the title of "HillRaiser" for his efforts at collecting donations. Her campaign is returning US$850,000 in donations linked to Hsu and promising stricter scrutiny of donors.
His saga took another strange twist with the revelation that he had mailed a suicide note last week to the New York office of the Innocence Project, a legal group that helps prove prisoners' innocence through DNA testing.
A person who saw the letter said the note explicitly stated that he "intended to commit suicide." The person declined to reveal the exact phrasing of the letter but said it was not rambling in nature.
The individual spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about it.


Updated : 2021-10-26 21:12 GMT+08:00