One Step Ahead
If you were a fugitive on a cross-country train, what might you fear that would make you freak out when someone approached you? The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Fugitive political fundraiser Norman Hsu was behaving erratically as he fled the Bay Area on Amtrak's California Zephyr, at one point stripping off his shirt and shoes, before paramedics were called to take him off the train in western Colorado, passengers said Friday. ...
Hsu boarded the train in Emeryville about 7 a.m. Wednesday, Amtrak said, two hours before he was to have appeared in a Redwood City courtroom in connection with his grand theft conviction. He had touched down earlier that morning on a charter jet flight to Oakland, his lawyer told prosecutors. Amtrak said he boarded the Zephyr with a ticket for Denver. ...
Alberto Dee, 21, who boarded the train in Truckee, said Hsu "freaked out" when Amtrak personnel approached, and was roaming a train car "without shoes and no shirt. ... I thought he had a suitcase full of crack or meth." ... Another passenger disembarking in Chicago, who declined to give his name, said Hsu appeared disoriented and was having trouble opening a door on the train. ... Dan Roberts, 57, a furniture maker from Grand Junction, said Hsu had been sitting up on a stretcher on the station platform and appeared to be moving.
Truckee is the last stop in California before crossing the state line into Nevada. The journey to Denver was only about a third of the way over when Norman Hsu decided he wanted to roam around shoeless and shirtless. Nothing wrong with his ability to walk though. Norman Hsu shouldn't have felt stressed because he was in the thoughts of those who cared only for his well-being. As his lawyer, Jim Brosnahan, who once defended "American Taliban" Johnny Walker Lindh said Friday:
"a great many friends of Norman Hsu have expressed concern about his mental health and physical well-being" since he disappeared. ... The strain he has been under during the last week has been enormous and, perhaps, unbearable," Brosnahan said in a prepared statement. On Wednesday, after Hsu failed to show up for his court hearing, Brosnahan said he was concerned about his client. But when asked whether Hsu posed a danger to himself, Brosnahan replied, "I have no basis for that speculation."
Question: has Hsu asked for his attorney, Jim Brosnahan, yet? Is it possible that Hsu actually feels better now that he is "under armed guard at the hospital on federal charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution" in the custody of the Feds? Could it be that the Fed's stated intend to drop all flight charges and turn him over to the local authorities is actually a threat? Well, who knows.
More from the NY Daily News:
The train's conductor said the two-time fugitive looked like an elderly man with dementia, and that's why he called 911. He had no idea Hsu was a high-profile Democratic fund-raiser who made hefty donations to Sen. .Hillary Clinton and other pols - while on the run from fraud charges for 15 years.
Hsu was taken to a hospital, where he was under FBI guard.
Hospital staff also didn't immediately recognize him, but someone eventually plugged his name into Google - and called the FBI. At the hospital, a police source heard a doctor ask: "Do you know where you are?" Hsu replied: "Yes, I'm in a hospital."
It's unclear when he'll be released. "It's up to his doctors, and we haven't heard anything yet," said Heather Benjamin, a spokeswoman for the Mesa County sheriff's department. Once booked, he'll be allowed visits only from attorneys and family. "This is a really unique case. Security will be very tight," she said.