Hsu wants re-trial for 15-year-old San Mateo scam plea

The 15-year-old case against Norman Hsu, the once high-rolling national Democratic fundraiser and donor, may be retried before a San Mateo County judge if his attorneys have their way.

Hsu, 56, was in a Redwood City courtroom this morning 16 days after he was supposed to appear for sentencing on a 1991 grand theft charge that he allegedly scammed local Bay Area investors out of $1 million.

Hsu's attorney Jim Brosnahan said he will seek to expunge Hsu's “no contest” plea to the 1991 charge and have the case retried because of a state statute that requires the same judge that oversaw his case to sentence him. That judge has since retired.

Brosnahan said he will also file papers to have Hsu's $2 million bail returned to him. In 1992, Hsu disappeared to Hong Kong before he could be sentenced, reappearing four years ago as a clothing mogul and spreading political donations around to major Democratic candidates and causes.

During the past 16 days, Hsu went on the lam, attempted suicide, was caught by federal agents and, just Thursday, was charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office that he allegedly defrauded investors nationwide out of more than $60 million in a similar “Ponzi” scheme as the one he allegedly ran out of Daly City in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

dsmith@examiner.com

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