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Former Tribune executive to spend at least 4 nights behind bars

Updated: January 18, 2013 5:46PM

A former Tribune Co. executive whose habit of skipping court angered a judge will spend at least four nights behind the bars of a federal lock-up.

After skipping three court hearings this month, Stephanie Pater, 39, finally turned herself in to U.S. Marshals in Chicago Friday morning.

But a desperate apology she gave Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan later Friday for her repeated failures to appear to answer charges she bilked the Tribune out of $260,000 weren’t enough to preserve her freedom.

“The laws of the United States and the rules and orders of this court apply equally to people of all walks of life, regardless of their status in society,” the judge said, adding, “This may come as a shock to Ms. Pater.”

A trembling, gaunt Pater had to sit down during the hearing Friday as it became clear she would be sent to the Metropolitan Correctional Center while she awaits trial.

The former Tribune real estate boss told the judge she was too “scared” to show up previously.

Der-Yeghiayan said Pater was a flight risk but added he’d free her on bond if her parents put up their South Carolina home as collateral.

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