LOS ANGELES — A federal judge on Monday ordered accused racketeer Eddie Nash freed on $1.5-million cash bond but stayed his ruling so prosecutors could consider appealing to a higher court.
U.S. District Judge Carlos R. Moreno said the government had failed to demonstrate that the 71-year-old Nash is a flight risk or a danger to the community.
Nash, a former Hollywood nightclub owner, was arrested last May on federal racketeering charges that accuse him of ordering the slayings of four people in a Laurel Canyon drug den in 1981.
Investigators theorize that the killings were carried out in retaliation for the theft of more than $1 million worth of drugs and jewels from Nash's house.
Nash was tried twice for the slayings in state court. Juries deadlocked 11-1 for conviction in the first trial and acquitted him in the second.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Daniel Saunders told Moreno that the government has witnesses he would not identify who fear Nash might retaliate against them if he is freed.
But defense lawyer Donald Re argued that the prosecution offered no specifics to back up his claims of witness intimidation.
He said Nash, who suffers from emphysema and coronary artery disease, is being held in a lighted isolation cell at the federal detention center. His client would "happily" submit to wearing an electronic device while confined to his home, he added.
Moreno gave prosecutors until Monday to appeal his ruling to set Nash free on bond.