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Richard Hirschfeld, 57, noted lawyer, recent inmate

MIAMI -- Richard Hirschfeld, a colorful confidant of boxing champ Muhammad Ali who spent most of the last eight years as a fugitive from the federal government, killed himself Tuesday in jail.

Mr. Hirschfeld, 57, died the same day authorities told his attorney that final arrangements had been made to move him to Norfolk, Va., for trial. He had been on the lam for more than eight years until he was arrested in October in a closet at a lavish riverfront home in Fort Lauderdale.

Prison authorities would not say how he killed himself.

"It was a real shock to us," said attorney Alvin Entin. "He seemed much more of a fighter than a person that had those kind of mood swings."

Mr. Hirschfeld, a lawyer, accompanied Ali to the Middle East in 1985 in a highly publicized attempt to gain the release of American hostages in Lebanon. They later had a falling out over the legal rights to the boxer's life story.

Although Ali denied it, federal prosecutors claimed Mr. Hirschfeld imitated the boxer's voice while on phone calls lobbying US senators in the 1980s, when the lawyer was driving a Rolls-Royce and living on a 50-acre Virginia farm with the retired boxer.

Mr. Hirschfeld was representing ousted Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos when he secretly recorded their conversations about a plot for Marcos to regain power. Mr. Hirschfeld took the tapes to a congressional committee in 1987.

Mr. Hirschfeld was convicted of tax evasion and securities fraud charges in 1991 and was wanted on federal conspiracy charges when he was captured last year. He faced up to 70 years in prison.

The conspiracy charges covered a scheme to be furloughed after the 1991 convictions.

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