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U.S. says Starr emails should bar release

December 20, 2010|Bloomberg

Kenneth I. Starr, the money manager who pleaded guilty to fraud in September, should stay in jail until he's sentenced because of a series of e-mails in which he expressed "extraordinary contempt" for his brothers, who would guarantee his bail, U.S. prosecutors argued.

Starr, 66, is in jail awaiting sentencing in U.S. District Court in New York on Feb. 2. Prosecutors say the request should be denied, in part because of possibly strained relationships between Starr and his brothers, his wife and a friend, all of whom agreed to post assets to ensure he won't try to run.

"The defendant has expressed contempt for, and an intent to cut off communications with, the two brothers who are posting the lion's share of the security for the defendant's bond, which raises serious concerns as to whether the security the brothers are posting will in fact dissuade the defendant from fleeing," prosecutors said Dec. 17 in court papers.

The government also argued that Starr, who faces 10 or more years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, has a greater incentive to run now, after pleading guilty to one count each of wire fraud, investment adviser fraud and money laundering.

As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, Starr's attorney, Flora Edwards, agreed that sentencing guidelines call for him to serve from 121 to 151 months in prison. U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin may disregard the guidelines.

Edwards didn't immediately return a voice-mail message today seeking comment.

Celebrity Clients

Starr's celebrity clients included Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. He was originally accused of defrauding at least 11 of them, including heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, out of $59 million. Edwards and the government agreed, for sentencing purposes, that the amount lost in the fraud was from $20 million to $50 million.

The court in July set bail at $10 million, to be guaranteed by the homes of Starr's brothers, Warren Starr and Stuart Starr; Warren Starr's $1.7 million rare book collection; and Kenneth Starr's interest in a Florida condominium, according to prosecutors. In addition, the bond was to be signed by four sureties: Starr's brothers; his wife, Diane Passage; and a friend, Michael Giordano. Starr was to post $250,000 in cash and submit to home detention and electronic monitoring.

In one of the e-mails, which prosecutors said were sent in November, Starr wrote about his brothers: "once i am sentenced i want no contact with them or anyone in their families" and "they will need me one day and i will not lift a finger - they are mean spirited awful human beings."

Unfeeling' Brothers

In another e-mail, Starr called his brothers "unfeeling and duplicitous," according to prosecutors.

In addition, Starr's friend Giordano refused to sign the bond after telling the court he would, prosecutors said. Prosecutors described another friend, put forward as a possible replacement, as a woman who "has recently been communicating with the defendant and has clearly been seeking to undermine the defendant's confidence in and relationship with his wife."

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