Humor

Thor Hansen's Bizarre Bond-Jumping Trial: "I've Never Seen Anything Like This"

Following a day of rambling testimony, tales of cocaine and hookers, accusations of subterfuge and sprawling CIA conspiracies, Thor Holm Hansen was convicted yesterday of a 1981 bail-jumping charge after he walked out of his own trial, sailed a boat to the Bahamas, and caught a plane to extradition-free Norway.

And this was the least confusing part of what became The Thor Hansen Show.

Hansen -- who once led a South Florida chapter of the Outlaw Motorcycle Club, led an insurgency into Haiti to overthrow Baby Doc, is a country music star in Norway, and married an heiress to the Maxwell Coffee House empire -- defended himself during most of the proceedings.

This, he says, had to be done. No one could possibly understand the ins and outs of his 32-year struggle to clear his name of a cocaine charge he says the Drug Enforcement Agency and CIA framed him with. Although the truth of that claim remained unclear, Hansen's certainty wasn't.

Over a day of testimony on Wednesday, witness after witness said Hansen, six-foot-four and pony-tailed, did have cocaine in 1981. And yes, he did skip his trial. And no, there wasn't any CIA conspiracy.

At one point, Hansen, who had traveled to the United States from Norway to get arrested and fight the charge, became so frustrated he screamed. "You're all liars! The prosecutors, the judge, the DEA -- liars!"

The jury disagreed. It was in deliberation for six and one-half hours Thursday before convicting Hansen, who sighed heavily and shook his head. He faces up to five years in prison.

After the ruling, Hansen's lawyer, Joe Chambrot -- who took over the case only when Hansen became confused while testifying in his own defense -- said if Hansen had had proper defense counsel, he would have prevailed.

"This is not over," Chambrot says. Hansen says he's appealing the conviction.

Jury members declined to elaborate on their decision. One man only said: "It was a tough decision."

Follow the writer @terrence_mccoy.



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Terrence McCoy