Judge denies Charles Pugh’s bid for lower bond

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit — A Wayne County Circuit Court judge denied Charles Pugh’s bid Monday for freedom as he awaits trial on criminal sexual conduct charges, citing the seriousness and the former politician’s propensity to skip court appearances.

Pugh’s attorney sought a $50,000, 10 percent bond. That request would have lowered his cost to get out of jail to $5,000.

Judge Thomas Cameron cited the “seriousness” of the five counts of criminal sexual conduct against Pugh involving a then-14 year-old boy. The judge also questioned if Pugh should show back up for court.

“Can the defendant be relied upon ... if (the lower) bond is given to appear in court,” Cameron asked Pugh’s defense attorney, Delphia Burton. “He left his family, his friends. He left his home, his job.”

Pugh did not speak during the brief hearing.

Burton said Pugh left Detroit, initially for Seattle and later New York, for “employment opportunities.” She cited a pre-trial services report she said recommended a $50,000 bond for her client. Pugh’s uncle, who was in the courtroom, would take him in while he awaited trial which is scheduled to begin Nov. 7.

“He’s a low risk. Bond should be fair.” Burton pleaded with Cameron. “He will reside with his uncle. He has family support.”

Burton has offered to have Pugh wear a tether if he was allowed out on bond.

Pugh originally was given a $500,000 cash bond. It was lowered to $150,000 cash at his preliminary exam earlier this month.

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Ralph Elizondo said Pugh presents a danger to the community.

“I don’t think anything has changed,” Elizondo said Monday. “The dangerousness (to) the community is still there. The (higher) bond is appropriate. It reflects the seriousness of these charges.”

The former Detroit City Council president and broadcast journalist, 45, has been jailed on six counts of criminal sexual conduct since he was arraigned on the first and third-degree criminal sexual conduct charges last month involving a case that goes back more than a decade.

In that case, a 27-year-old man has accused Pugh are having sex with him when the man was underage. The man says he began having sexual contact in his early teens with the former politician.

Pugh has been locked up since being extradited back to Detroit from New York City, where he had been living and working since 2013 when he abruptly left the council and Detroit.

One of the original charges has been dropped.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2027