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Emily D. Swoboda

US Appeals Court Denies Kaplan Bai

5 December 2007

Gary Kaplan, jailed founder of BetonSports, has been denied bail a third time -- this time at the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Since his arrest in March, Kaplan has entered three motions asking for his release on bail; the first was entertained during a two-part detention hearing over May and June in St. Louis. Prosecutors in the first part of the hearing had no short reasons why Kaplan is a flight risk who should remain in custody.

For instance, upon his arrest, Kaplan was in possession of five passports from four countries, each with a different identity. In addition, he had a handcuff key and a spiral notebook containing details of a plan to relocate to Nicaragua. Prosecutors also said Kaplan has had others obtain housing for him in names other than his own, and he carries large sums of money, in multiple currencies from countries without extradition laws.

During part two of the hearing Kaplan's lawyers argued that Kaplan should be released on bail because he is "family man," noting that his family wishes to be a part of the St. Louis community, and that his children will go to school there. Kaplan's wife had recently purchased a multi-million dollar home in a tony St. Louis neighborhood.

The defense team explained away Kaplan's handcuff keys, saying he had been kidnapped for ransom in Venezuela for several days, and his intermediary had given him the key after he was freed. And while they admitted there was no excuse for his two fraudulent Peruvian passports, they said the problem with Kaplan's Costa Rican passport (it had an incorrect social security number) was due to an administrative error. Furthermore, they said that what had been mistaken for an Israeli passport was really nothing more than a travel document which Kaplan had because he had applied for Israeli citizenship in 2004.

Despite the best efforts from Kaplan camp, he was ruled a flight risk and denied bail.

In September, Kaplan's team made a second push for bail, presenting an elaborate plan they thought would guarantee his security and his appearance at future hearings, but the plan hit a snag. The plan would have seen Kaplan himself finance a private security firm to watch over his home 24-7, by way of trained police officers stationed at all times, and electronic surveillance.

After testimony by the owner of the private security firm, however, it became evident that the plan had far too many holes in it and District Court Judge Carol Jackson was not comfortable with Kaplan financing his own house arrest.

"I have a fundamental problem with a defendant holding the key to his own cell," Jackson said.

Once again he was ruled a great flight risk and denied bail.

In mid-October, Kaplan filed papers with the U.S. Court of Appeals, hoping to get the chance to plead his case in a higher level court. But, on Monday, his motion was denied without a hearing, according to Kaplan's attorney Chris Flood of Flood and Flood.

Flood added that Kaplan does have additional appeals options, but they have not decided whether or not to pursue them.

So, it appears as if Kaplan could remain in custody until his trial begins, which is not scheduled yet.

US Appeals Court Denies Kaplan Bai is republished from
Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda