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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | OXNARD

Former Mouseketeer Seeks Prison Delay

July 14, 1999|DAVID ROSENZWEIG

Former Mouseketeer Darlene Gillespie of Oxnard has petitioned a federal judge to allow her to stay out of prison while she appeals her stock fraud conviction.

Gillespie, an original member of television's "Mickey Mouse Club," is under a court order to begin serving a two-year prison term beginning July 26.

She was convicted last year of buying large amounts of stock with worthless checks and obstructing a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.

In documents filed with Los Angeles Federal Judge Lourdes G. Baird, the 57-year-old Gillespie said she feared she would not receive adequate medical care in prison for a severe back ailment, chronic pain and depressive disorders.

She also argued that by staying free pending her appeal, she would be in a better position to make more than $6,000 restitution to her victims.

In a reply brief, Assistant U.S. Atty. Jack Weiss opposed postponing her prison term. He said the federal Bureau of Prisons operates medical centers devoted exclusively to housing inmates with severe medical conditions.

As for the suggestion that delaying her prison term would expedite restitution payments, Weiss said, "This argument does not pass the straight face test." He said that Gillespie and her husband, Jerry Fraschilla, had never "paid a dime" of restitution they agreed to in a civil settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Fraschilla, 61, is completing an 18-month sentence at Lompoc federal prison after pleading guilty in the case.

Baird is scheduled to hear Gillespie's motion next Monday.

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