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James Arthur Ray Released From Jail

Rather than, um, sweatin' it out in a Yavapai County jail, Arizona's most infamous "spiritual warrior" is a free man this afternoon after posting bond in Yavapai County Court.

James Ray was released from jail at 11:10 a.m. today, less than 24 hours after his lawyers successfully had his bail amount reduced from $5 million to $525,000.

In addition to reducing Ray's bail, Judge Warren Darrow required Ray to turn over his passport and asked that he not participate in any sweat-lodge-like ceremonies.

Since he was arrested about three weeks ago, Ray has been sitting in jail waiting as his lawyers argued with prosecutors in his manslaughter case that he couldn't afford the $5 million bail amount.

Despite using his wealth and success as a gimmick in the "self-help" biz, Ray claimed he was broke to prove that he didn't have five million bucks to cough up for bail.

On Wednesday, an accounting-fraud expert found that while Ray was not worth nearly as much as he told his followers, he was worth at least $2.4 million and the judge reduced the bail amount accordingly.

The accountant also noted that after the sweat-lodge deaths, Ray moved some money around between bank accounts, so the $2.4 million estimate could be on the conservative side.

Ray is charged with three counts of manslaughter following the deaths of three people during a Sedona sweat-lodge ceremony that he organized in October.

If convicted, Ray faces 12 1/2 years in prison for each charge.  

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James King
Contact: James King