IPSWICH, Mass. — A federal judge said Tuesday that he's decided to release former Boston Grand Prix promoter John Casey from custody, a little more than a week after his arrest for violating the terms of his bail in a pending fraud case.
But that doesn't mean he believes Casey's excuses for the trips to a New Hampshire gun range, where he allegedly came into contact with a witness in the case, violating multiple conditions of his bail.
"I think it was wrong and I think you knew it was wrong," Judge Donald Cabell told Casey Tuesday morning during a hearing via Zoom.
But having said that, Cabell told Casey, 57, of Ipswich, that he would again release him, citing last year's Federal Bail Reform Act. That law requires judges to give defendants the presumption of release unless there are no conditions to mitigate the risk of flight or danger to others.
"I do think there are some additional conditions I'm willing to impose," Cabell said.
They now include 24-7 house arrest, monitoring by an ankle bracelet — and a pre-signed warrant that would allow federal authorities to snap Casey up immediately without an additional hearing should he be suspected of again violating his release terms.
Casey, who was expected to be picked up later Tuesday by his wife Gayle at the Plymouth County House of Correction, will only be allowed to leave his Ipswich home with the permission of a probation officer to attend any in-person court proceedings, medical appointments or meetings with his federal public defender.
"You can't leave your house," Cabell warned him.
He also warned Casey that he cannot use a false identity — prosecutors alleged that Casey was using his college-aged son's name at times — and cannot have or be around people with guns. "If someone comes over, they cannot bring their gun," Cabell told Casey.
"There's really very little wiggle room," the judge told Casey. "There's a short leash here."
Casey is awaiting trial in a federal fraud indictment handed up last September, in which he's accused of failing to report $1.2 million in income he drew over the course of three tax years while he was running the failed Boston Grand Prix race. He's also charged in a scheme to defraud lenders, involving leased equipment he claimed was for the Peabody ice rink he used to own.
He had been free on $10,000 bond with conditions, but was arrested April 12 after officials learned he'd made trips out of state, visited a New Hampshire gun range, and came into contact with a woman who is on the witness list in the case — who, prosecutors say, wears a diamond ring Casey had given her.
Casey claimed during a hearing last week that due to hearing loss he misheard his probation officer's answer when she told him he could not go to New Hampshire. He said he misunderstood the order not to "possess" any guns, saying he believed it was OK to go to the gun range because he did not take a gun home with him. And he said he did the best he could to avoid the woman, who is the mother of a teenager Casey says he is "mentoring."
Cabell, at the start of the hearing on Tuesday, said the excuses "do not resonate with me."
"I still believe you knew when you went to New Hampshire, to the gun range, with the child of the person on the witness list, you knew it was improper," said Cabell, who said that it would be "entirely appropriate" to detain Casey, but for the bail reform measure.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.
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