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Keating to Appear in Court for Violating Bail Terms

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Indicted Phoenix businessman Charles H. Keating Jr. didn’t check in with prosecutors in Los Angeles the day after Thanksgiving and must return to Superior Court on Monday for violating a condition of bail, authorities and his lawyer said Friday.

The violation was minor, and the judge in Keating’s state securities fraud case is expected to explain the bail terms again and caution the Phoenix businessman about future violations, said Mike Botula, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Keating is not expected to be returned to jail, he said.

But Keating’s attorney, Stephen C. Neal of Chicago, called prosecutors’ request for a court order forcing Keating to return from Phoenix an “outrage.”

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“The action was totally unwarranted under the facts and under the law,” Neal said.

The 66-year-old Keating is the former chairman of American Continental Corp., which owned Irvine-based Lincoln Savings & Loan. He and three others were indicted in mid-September on fraud charges stemming from the sale of more than $200 million in American Continental bonds at Lincoln branches.

After his indictment, Keating was jailed for 33 days on $5-million bail. He appealed federal court and won a reduction in bail to $300,000. One of the conditions of his bail was that he report weekly by telephone to prosecutors.

Neal said Keating and prosecutors had made arrangements for a district attorney’s investigator to call Keating at his home weekly.

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On Nov. 23, the investigator called but found that Keating had changed his unlisted telephone number. The investigator called one of Neal’s associates and left a message on an answering machine saying it was all right to return his call on Monday, Neal said.

The associate reached Keating on Sunday, and Keating called the investigator the same day, Neal said. He said his client simply forgot to give prosecutors his new number.

Prosecutors, though, decided on Wednesday to get a court order requiring Keating to appear at a previously scheduled court hearing Monday before Superior Court Judge Lance A. Ito.

Ito was on vacation this week and prosecutors turned to Superior Court Judge Gary Klausner, the judge who had set the original $5-million bail on Keating and had refused to lower it.

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Neal said Klausner stated in his order that he conferred with Ito before issuing the mandate for Keating’s appearance on Monday.


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