Karl Fined, Placed On Probation For Illegal Hart Campaign Contributions
Dec. 06, 1988
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) _ Stuart Karl, who made a fortune on the Jane Fonda ''Workout'' videos, was given three years' probation and fined $60,000 Monday after he told a judge he was lured by the glamor of politics into soliciting illegal campaign contributions for Gary Hart and others.
''To be honest, I'm not sure why I did these things,'' Karl said in federal court. ''You're attracted to the allure of being involved and people begin to make you feel important,'' he said. ''I just regret doing this.''
U.S. District Judge Alicemarie Stotler, who imposed a higher fine than had been recommended by probation officials, said she wanted to send a message to others who might follow Karl's example.
Karl, 36, once considered a golden boy in the new industry of home video production, pleaded guilty Aug. 2 to two counts of campaign law violations.
The government had alleged Karl asked former employees to contribute up to $1,000 each to various candidates, then reimbursed them in cash. The bulk of the donations went to Hart's 1984 presidential campaign, according to an indictment filed June 10.
Karl pleaded guilty to one count of making a political contribution in the name of another person and one count of conspiracy. Charges involving other candidates were dismissed Monday as part of Karl's plea agreement.
Both Karl and his attorney, John Vardaman, stressed that he was a tool of others. Without naming the others, Vardaman said Karl had been lured into wrongdoing by promises of access to a presidential candidate and proximity to power.
Previously, U.S. Attorney Robert Bonner said members of Hart's political campaign who encouraged the contributions were under investigation.
The Orange County Register has reported those under investigation include David Rosen, Hart's 1984 finance director, and Laguna Beach developer David Stein.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Wieben Stock said it was clear that Karl's business dealings benefited from his political connections.
Karl's attorneys have told probation officials their client faces debts of about $1.25 million, including $717,000 owed to the Internal Revenue Service for unpaid taxes on income earned in 1985 and 1986.
The judge said she would consider ending Karl's probation after he pays the fine and after he has completed half of the term.
The maximum penalty for the charges would be $275,000 and five years' probation. Probation authorities recommended against a jail sentence because of Karl's cooperation with investigators.