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Keating Asks for His Freedom

August 01, 1996|From Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Former Lincoln Savings & Loan operator Charles H. Keating Jr. is demanding release on bail from federal prison, saying his California fraud conviction has been overturned, he is likely to be granted a new trial and is no flight risk.

Keating said he should be allowed to return to his family in Arizona--the members include grandson Gary Hall Jr., who won two gold and two silver Olympic swimming medals--while it's determined if a series of favorable court rulings result in a new trial in federal court.

Keating, who is locked up in Tucson, Ariz., said in a motion Tuesday that he has shown again and again that he won't flee. He offered as evidence his appearance for sentencing after his state court conviction, when a prison sentence was assured and he also faced trial in federal court.

Keating, 72, the former head of the Phoenix home-building company American Continental Corp., has served four years and five months so far. He is scheduled for release in 2001. He became a central symbol of the 1980s savings and loan debacle after ACC bought Irvine-based Lincoln Savings & Loan and invested its taxpayer-insured deposits in high-risk land, hotel and securities deals.

The government estimated losses to taxpayers at $3.4 billion after Lincoln was seized by regulators, one of the worst S&L failures of a crisis whose costs are now put at $480 billion. Keating continues to blame government regulators and legislators for his and Lincoln's woes.

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