Originally created 03/14/97

Former MCG researcher released from jail



Fraud suspect Bruce I. Diamond was released from Richmond County jail Thursday after agreeing to turn over all his property and other assets to the state of Georgia.

Dr. Diamond was released around 6 p.m. His attorneys had asked for a reduction in the $1 million bail set for him last month.

But at a hearing earlier Thursday, both sides agreed that Dr. Diamond would instead be allowed to put up his property.

Dr. Diamond and Richard L. Borison were arrested Feb. 18 and charged with several offenses, including theft of more than $10 million, bribery, reckless conduct, income tax evasion and racketeering.

Should they lose the case against them, the doctors would forfeit all the property that the state claims they acquired through criminal means, attorneys said.

Investigators had worried that Dr. Diamond was preparing to flee the area at the time of his arrest. According to an affidavit filed last month, Dr. Diamond was carrying $9,900 and a cashiers check at the time of his arrest, and a passport was found in his car.

But Assistant state Attorney General David McLaughlin said he is no longer concerned that Dr. Diamond will try to leave now that all of his assets have been frozen.

"He no longer has the resources to flee, and that was our primary concern," Mr. McLaughlin said. "I don't think he's going anywhere."

Both sides agreed to the compromise, which includes dropping the defense's request to dismiss the civil suit against the researchers, after an hour and a half of closed-door meetings.

The compromise helps avoid hours of court time trying to resolve the issues, Mr. McLaughlin said.

According to court documents, Dr. Diamond's bond remained at $1 million, and the county would receive that amount of his property should Dr. Diamond skip bond.

Any assets over the $1 million bond will be turned over to attorney Paul H. Dunbar III, the receiver appointed by Superior Court Judge Albert M. Pickett.

Dr. Borison was released Feb. 28 after friends and family members posted bond.

Attorneys for the former Medical College of Georgia researchers also had asked that Mr. Dunbar be dismissed from handling the affairs of the researchers' businesses because he has worked as a special assistant attorney general.

The attorneys agreed Thursday to allow Mr. Dunbar to continue as receiver for at least the next 120 days.

"We believe the receiver is a very fair man, and that issue has been delayed pending further investigation into the case," said Edward Garland, an Atlanta-based attorney who has been added to the defense team.