Charles Keating Released From JailJEFF SHAIN , Associated Press
Oct. 3, 1996 11:58 PM ET
TUCSON, ARIZ. TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ Charles Keating Jr., symbol of the savings and loan debacle of the 1980s, was released from prison Thursday as he awaits a hearing on whether he should be granted a new federal trial.
Keating's release came hours after U.S. District Judge Mariana Pfaelzer in Los Angeles ordered his release and set bail at $300,000.
The former Lincoln Savings & Loan boss walked out of prison, put his arm around two women, got in a van and drove off. He ignored about two dozen reporters who watched from across the street.
Later, Keating was seen entering his daughter's home in Paradise Valley, an exclusive suburb of Phoenix. A son-in-law, Bill Hubbard, read a one-line statement: ``The only comment we'll make is that the family is very happy he's home.''
Keating's troubles began after his American Continental Corp. bought Lincoln and invested its taxpayer-insured deposits in high-risk land, hotel and securities deals.
The government estimated losses to taxpayers at $3.4 billion after Lincoln was seized by regulators, one of the worst S&L failures of a crisis estimated to cost $480 billion.
Keating, 72, has been serving a 10-year state prison sentence and a 12-year, seven-month federal sentence concurrently. He has been imprisoned in Tucson, Ariz., for more than 4 1/2 years.
A federal judge in April overturned Keating's state court conviction for swindling elderly investors, finding errors in jury instructions by Judge Lance Ito. The state is appealing the ruling.
Then in June, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a hearing on allegations of jury misconduct in Keating's federal trial on charges of cheating the investors and looting Lincoln at taxpayer expense.
The federal jurors who convicted Keating of racketeering, fraud and conspiracy three years ago weren't told of his state conviction, but defense lawyers maintain some of them knew about and discussed them.
Pfaelzer's order to release Keating came after lawyers on both sides questioned the federal jurors about what they knew of his state conviction during the trial.
The hearing on whether he will get a new trial is set for Nov. 25.
Keating continues to blame government regulators and legislators for his and Lincoln's woes.
His entire family, including about 30 grandchildren, went to Tucson to meet him upon his release.
``We are thrilled,'' said Keating's daughter, Mary Hall. ``We're running around and trying to get my mom and my kids all ready.''