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Judge in Racketeering Suspect's Case Orders $75,000 in Bail Forfeited

Court: Ex-club owner Eddie Nash could have lost $1.5 million for violating terms of his jail release.

February 13, 2001|DAVID ROSENZWEIG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A federal judge Monday forfeited $75,000 of the $1.5 million in cash that racketeering suspect Eddie Nash put up last year to get out of jail.

U.S. District Judge Carlos R. Moreno could have confiscated all of Nash's bail money for violating terms of his release but the judge said that would be too harsh.

Nash's net worth has been estimated at more than $30 million.

Last month, Moreno ordered the 71-year-old former nightclub owner back behind bars after finding that he had repeatedly violated terms of his bail while under detention at his Tarzana home.

Nash has been tried twice in state court in the deaths of four people in a Laurel Canyon drug den in 1981. Neither trial resulted in conviction.

The killings constitute one of several acts that form the basis of federal prosecutors' current racketeering case against Nash. He also is accused of drug trafficking and money laundering.

Last month, the judge appeared especially angry about a disclosure that Nash had been using an unauthorized telephone, unknown to authorities. Under terms of his release, Nash's phone calls and mail were supposed to be monitored by the FBI.

Nash also was found to have violated an order not to meet with a lawyer friend who had been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in his case.

Moreno also heard arguments Monday on a defense motion to gut the heart of the prosecution's case against Nash: that he ordered the Laurel canyon slayings in 1981. In Nash's state court trials on the killings, one jury deadlocked and a second acquitted him.

Defense lawyers Donald Re and Edward Rucker argued in federal court Monday that Nash's due process rights would be violated if he had to defend himself against the Laurel Canyon allegations today. They said defense evidence has been destroyed and witnesses have died.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Terri Law argued, however, that under case law the defense bears the burden of showing that the prosecution was culpable in delaying Nash's prosecution until now. She said the federal charges against Nash grew out of new evidence that came to light in 1995.

Moreno said he would consider both sides' arguments before ruling on the defense motion.

Nash's trial is set for September, but his lawyers indicated Monday that they might seek to have the date advanced.

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