Following is some of what is one of the best interviews so far during this whole Rothstein thing, snagged by Susan Spencer-Wendel at the Palm Beach Post.
It's from former Circuit Judge William Berger. He's the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm partner in Palm Beach County who had legitimate cases representing two girls involved in billionaire Jeffrey Epstein's underage-sex scandal. Rothstein used the Epstein cases as bait to sell bogus court settlements, apparently without Berger's knowledge. The ex-judge's words are strong and angry. He calls Rothstein a "financial serial killer" and figures that his former boss is "working down from a life sentence" with the feds right now.
Berger spoke of a secretary at the beleaguered law firm who scraped together $2,000 for a down payment on a home, put it in a firm account and now it's gone.
"When the public sees Scott (Rothstein) there on TV drinking martinis, they have to think of hundreds or thousands of lives that have been adversely affected by his acts," Berger said in his first public comments on the scandal.
"I think back to the law firm picnic with hundreds of employees, their families, little children, grandparents, spouses. Rothstein walked around like Santa Claus," Berger added. "He saw close up who he would be hurting."
Those people entrusted their lives to him, Berger said.
"He violated their trust in the most cold blooded, heartless way. He really does deserve to be shot like a
... "What he's doing now is his next scam and the public is his target," Berger said. "This business about ... making everything right... I don't believe a word of it. In the words of another attorney, 'He's working down from a life sentence.' "
... He said he left to work with his friend of 10 years, named partner Stuart Rosenfeldt, and work at a firm he perceived as vibrant, exciting and successful.
"You have to go back to March 2008, I don't know what [Rothstein] owned at the time or how flashy he was. He had not bought Bova (restaurant) at the time. He had not bought the Versace mansion or the 87-foot yacht. And he had not designed a bunker in the office," Berger said. "We are not talking about the same outward appearances then as now."
And here's some stuff on the Epstein angle, a fascinating and complex side of the story that's barely been explored (I think this is the first mention of it in a daily newspaper since I first wrote about it last week). It's no wonder he's mad; Rothstein might have hurt some potentially lucrative cases of Berger's.
Epstein's legal team is exploring accounts that Rothstein fraudulently peddled the potential millions in Epstein settlements to investors, two sources have told The Palm Beach Post. That possibly sets the stage for Epstein's attorneys to argue their lawsuits were scams to begin with.
... When asked if the Epstein victims he represented had indeed had their interests sold, Berger said he is sure no one ever approached the women he and Edwards represented. And if they were sold, the women and the lawyers did not know it, he said.
"To me any possible connection that people may try to make with what Scott Rothstein did in secret with the claims of these young women is completely irrelevant," he said.
In the lawsuit, possibly. In this ongoing story, not at all.