SAN FRANCISCO — Disgraced Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu was arrested in Colorado late Thursday after he failed to show up for a court appearance related to a felony theft conviction.
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FBI agents took Hsu into custody at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo., said FBI spokesman Joseph Schadler.
Hsu had been scheduled to appear in court Wednesday to turn over his passport and ask a judge to cut in half the $2 million bail he posted last week when he turned himself in after spending 15 years on the lam from a felony theft conviction.
Instead, Hsu failed to show up at the bail reduction hearing and a judge issued a new arrest warrant for him.
California Attorney General spokesman Gareth Lacy said Hsu’s lawyers told prosecutors Hsu arrived by charter jet at the Oakland airport about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday local time and then wasn’t heard from again.
When it became apparent that Hsu had fled the state, California authorities sought the assistance of the FBI, whose agents arrested him Thursday night on charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, Schadler said.
Once he is returned to state custody, the federal charges will be dismissed, Schadler said.
Pa.'s Rendell donates cash
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell became the latest of many Democratic politicians to return or donate to charity Hsu’s election contributions.
Rendell had said last week he planned to keep nearly $40,000 of Hsu’s money even though Hsu was wanted for failing to appear for sentencing after pleading no contest to a felony charge of bilking investors out of $1 million.
“Though Norman is my friend, and remains so, his failure to appear casts a new light on his assertions regarding the original case,” Rendell said in a statement before Hsu’s arrest Thursday. “As a result, I will follow other elected officials and donate the money he contributed to me to charity.”
New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has said she plans to give to charity the $23,000 in donations she received from Hsu for her presidential and senatorial campaigns and to her political action committee, HillPac.
The growing flap over Hsu’s contributions prompted Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd to release a statement Thursday vowing “to refuse to accept or possess campaign contributions raised, solicited, or delivered by fugitives from justice.”
Hsu has said he believed he had resolved his legal issues, but that he would halt his work raising political money.
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