U.S. District Judge James Cohn ruled this morning to delay Scott Rothstein's return to South Florida for a deposition in bankruptcy court, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office entered an objection to a ruling a few weeks ago from a U.S. bankruptcy judge ordering the return of Rothstein to Fort Lauderdale for a deposition in front of creditors owed money by his now-defunct Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm.
Since the feds are working on a multiperson indictment involving several of Rothstein's old Ponzi pals, prosecutors feared Rothstein would tip off the suspects during his deposition.
"If defendant Rothstein were to be deposed, at the present time, it is feared that such corraborating evidence could be concealed, altered or destroyed," prosecutors wrote. "Rothstein's deposition would provide a detailed explanation of the criminal activities of coconspirators. Such information would alert targets of the investigation as to the specifics concerning their potential criminal liability and would potentially reveal to them the identities of other witnesses against them."
It was later revealed that lawyers close to the case figured that "a dozen to two dozen" could be charged in this impending round of indictments.
Prosecutors say they're analyzing 850,000 emails from the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm, and Rothstein -- "the main repository of information," the U.S. Attorney's Office says -- has been talking to the feds since November 2009.
Among the crimes they're looking into charging Rothstein's cohorts with are mail fraud, wire fraud, campaign finance fraud, tax fraud, extortion, payments of unlawful gratuities, bank fraud, and money laundering, according to a previous court filing.
The creditors want to depose Rothstein as soon as possible, but now it will probably have to wait six months. It wasn't announced exactly how long the court was delaying the deposition, although the U.S. Attorney's Office had requested 180 days.
Also, the court had previously said that while the public wouldn't be available to witness the deposition before creditors, transcripts and videotape would later be available for purchase.
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Now, the Sun-Sentinel says "prosecutor Lawrence LaVecchio said the government would object, for secret reasons, to any attempt by lawyers to videotape the session," but we'll see if that means they're attempting to seal the deposition from the public and media entirely.