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POLICE ARREST MOUSEKETEER IN SEC PROBE; ORIGINAL MEMBER OF '50S SHOW, ASSOCIATE CHARGED IN PERJURY.

Byline: Peter Hartlaub Daily News Staff Writer

Proving that life doesn't always imitate television, one of the perky stars of the 1950s hit the ``Mickey Mouse Club'' was arrested Wednesday after a federal grand jury indictment accused her of lying under oath.

Darlene Gillespie, 56, was one of the original Mouseketeers, appearing on the TV show from 1955 to 1959. She was arrested in the morning at her Oxnard home on charges including conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury, then was released after a late-afternoon bail hearing.

She was accompanied by a court-appointed public defender, Morton Boren, who criticized the U.S. Attorney's Office for stranding her at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse with no car and no money.

``The government got her here, I want the government to bring her home,'' Boren said, after U.S. District Court Judge James McMahon ordered Gillespie to return Monday for arraignment. Her attorney said she would not have to pay bail.

The judge also ordered Gillespie to turn in her passport today and stay in California.

``I'm sure the government (isn't) running a taxi service,'' McMahon said. ``I think that's more your problem than it is mine.''

The 26-count indictment accuses Gillespie and 60-year-old Jerry Fraschilla of lying under oath during depositions taken during an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission that started in 1993.

The 10-page indictment also contends that Gillespie and Fraschilla made up an imaginary person called ``Michael Andrews'' to establish stock brokerage accounts and write bad checks.

The indictment says: ``Michael Andrews was a fictitious entity which defendants Jerry Fraschilla and Gillespie created and improperly used to establish stock brokerage accounts and to purchase stock.''

Gillespie and Fraschilla came to court in street clothes, holding hands while they waited for their case to be called.

Boren instructed the former Mouseketeer not to comment to the press, and the only words she spoke at the hearing were a quiet, ``Yes I am,'' when asked by McMahon if she was Darlene Gillespie.

It wasn't Gillespie's first trip to court. A jury sentenced her to probation earlier this year for a misdemeanor petty theft conviction involving a supposedly stolen food processor from a Ventura Macy's. In 1990, Gillespie sued Walt Disney Productions, claiming the studio promised to make her a star when she signed a contract to appear on the ``Mickey Mouse Club.'' The case later was settled out of court.

McMahon set $50,000 bail for Fraschilla, after prosecutors alleged that he's been carrying his dead father's driver's license and used that identity to get a car, cellular phone and credit cards.

Prosecutors said Fraschilla is a flight risk and asked that he be detained without bail.

``I wouldn't trust the word of this defendant as far as I can throw him, but I don't think this is a detention case,'' McMahon said.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 4, 1997
Words:474
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