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BANKING/FINANCE : Waiting Around for a U.S. Indictment Against Keating

Compiled by James S. Granelli / Times staff writer

Even Las Vegas oddsmakers might have shunned a bet on when a federal grand jury indictment would be returned against former Lincoln Savings & Loan chief Charles H. Keating Jr.

Before their indictment on state securities-fraud charges last September, Keating and three others received so-called target letters from federal prosecutors. Such letters usually indicate that indictments are coming soon.

Last fall, sources close to the investigation said that indictments would be returned by Christmas. After the New Year dawned without any indictments, sources predicted action in early winter, then in the spring and then, sometime in June or early July.

Now, word is that indictments will be out by the end of this month, which of course is today.

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Others, though, say federal prosecutors will wait until after Aug. 9, the last day for depositions to be taken in the civil cases stemming from Lincoln’s collapse. Prosecutors have been given access to those sworn statements for possible help in building their criminal case. A special two-month period for depositions involving newly added defendants is scheduled for the fall.

What will happen to the state’s criminal proceedings, meanwhile, is uncertain. The trial is scheduled to begin on Friday, though it will take more than a month to swear in a jury and take care of last-minute, pretrial matters.

A federal indictment could delay the start of the state trial and, if returned after the trial starts, could taint the jury to the point that a mistrial would have to be declared. State prosecutors, though, say they are confident that neither of those occurrences will take place.


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