Newsflash: Lawyers Lie

OK, it's finally official: Scott Rothstein has been cooperating all along.

If you've been reading this blog, you not only already knew that but you also knew that Rothstein was actively trying to drum up cases for the feds before he was incarcerated, including one against his old friend, Muhammed "Moe" Sohail, the cigar man.

Rothstein will be in court this morning at a calendar call before U.S. District Judge James Cohn. Rothstein's attorney, Marc Nurik, has told the Herald and Sentinel that Rothstein's intention to plead guilty will be voiced at the hearing and that a deal will be worked out soon.

I put my over-under on Rothstein's ultimate sentence at 22 years in the comments last night, but like a Vegas line, it may change. Right now, I'm thinking it might rise a little.

But can someone please tell me the position that lawyers generally take on lying to the public? Because Nurik did it over and over again. He told me and other members of the media on countless occasions that Rothstein was not cooperating and that any contact with federal agents and prosecutors had been through Nurik.

I knew Nurik was lying, and I knew why: What good is a working informant/source like Rothstein if everyone knows he's being handled by

the feds and the conversations are being recorded by the government?

In other words, it was active disinformation, and there is no doubt that Nurik believed he was acting in his client's best interest. But it was still pretty sickening that he was still bald-faced lying to the press and the public like a freaking sociopath. I know what you're thinking, "But Pulphead, lawyers lie all the time." This, though, wasn't like most attorneys' lies -- you know, like "my client is innocent" -- because Nurik must have known that he would have no plausible deniability. He knew Rothstein was cooperating directly with the feds, he was there when Rothstein was cooperating, and he must have known that the truth would surface soon enough. Yet he told us -- on the phone, at news conferences, with the videotape rolling -- that Rothstein was not personally cooperating with the feds.

Question: Is that OK? Sure, Nurik loses credibility and looks clownish, but since he was trying to protect his client, were his lies acceptable? Did he really have a choice?

If he would have given the normal nondenial of "I can't comment on any part of the investigation," it would probably have been seen by most as basically an admission that Rothstein was squawking.

Well, I was going to write more on this, but I have to get to the Rothstein hearing, which I'll report on when I can (I don't expect any bombshells). Overall, I think it's pathetic that Nurik lied so openly, though I understand why he did it.

 


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