“There are multiple victims who are literally afraid for their lives,” a federal prosecutor said in court Friday, opposing the pretrial release of accused Waikiki extortionist Tory Windward.

Federal Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren overrode Asst. U.S. Attorney Tom Brady’s objections, ruling that Winward, 44, can be released to a halfway house if he posts $250,000 bond and wears a GPS device that will monitor his whereabouts.

Brady said he plans to appeal the ruling and Kurren said Winward is not likely to be released for at least two weeks because of a shortage of space in the Mahoney Hale halfway house.

Winward and two other men, Curtis Swanson and Jesse Yoshino, are charged with using violence in a conspiracy to extort money from owners the Shack Waikiki bar-restaurant.

Defense attorney Michael Green said Winward has been falsely accused by business partners who were stealing money from him.

“The animosity between them has been settled for a long time,” said Green.

Kurren said he recognized the seriousness of the charges against Winward as well as his “significant criminal history,” but said the conditions of pretrial release would “assure the safety of the community.”

                                                        Sentencing Delayed For Convicted Con Artist
Also in federal court today, convicted swindler Ronald K. Maria won a delay in his federal court sentencing date after another of his defense lawyers withdrew from the case.

Maria, 39, admitted stealing $682,000 from an elderly Mainland man earlier this year.

After the guilty plea was entered, Maria’s first court-appointed defense lawyer asked to withdraw from the case because of unspecified differences with his client.

That request was granted and Federal Deputy Public Defender Donna Gray was appointed as Maria’s new counsel.

In court Friday, Gray asked to be removed from the case. After explaining her reasons in a closed-door session with U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren, Gray was allowed to withdraw.

A new defense lawyer has not been appointed yet. A new sentencing date has not been scheduled.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Olson said Maria’s victim is “an elderly man who has been devastated” by Maria’s crime.

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