After Luster spent five months in jail, an appeals court ruled that his $10 million bail was unreasonably high. Bail was reduced to $1 million, and he was freed four days before Christmas 2000. He put up $700,000, his mother $300,000.
The terms of his release amounted to house arrest. A GPS device was attached to his ankle, and he was confined to his home except for essential trips.
Two months later, a long-delayed preliminary hearing finally began.
Each of Luster's three alleged victims testified against him. During the proceeding, both Tonja and Shauna viewed for the first time portions of the 30-minute sex videos that Luster made while they were unconscious.
Tonja blurted out that Luster was a "big asshole...I just can't believe he did this."
Shauna added, "I'm disgusted."
Defense attorney Joel Isaacson argued that the women willingly took GHB with Luster as part of the "rave lifestyle." He said the sex was consensual and Tonja, in particular, often took GHB as a sexual stimulant.
"At some point, she becomes unconscious," Isaacson said. "He continues his sexual efforts. We're saying [the sex] was consented to."
But Prosecutor John Blair said, "We see a defendant who enjoys raping and sexually assaulting young helpless women who are unconscious."
At the close of the three-day hearing, Judge James Cloninger, "What I think occurred [to Carey] is best understood in the light of what occurred to Shauna and Tonja."
It was an ominous comment for Luster and his case.
Cloninger ruled there was adequate evidence to send the case on to district court for trial.