That headline provides the basic news of the federal court hearing this morning.
Scott Rothstein was in court but was undemonstrative and quiet, according to other press members. The hearing in U.S. District Judge James Cohn's courtroom was already over before 9.a.m. when I arrived, so I didn't get a chance to see if he really looked more "fit" and "distinguished," as his lawyer, Marc Nurik, had told me a while back.
"There's a dramatic difference in his personality," Nurik said of Rothstein after the hearing. "I don't notice the tics" -- at that moment Nurik actually mimicked a tic -- "and I don't notice what people describe as ADD behavior."
Nurik acknowledged again that Rothstein was on medication behind bars but wouldn't specify the drugs. When asked why family, such as wife Kimmie, wasn't there to support Rothstein, Nurik said, "Kim doesn't want to go through the media circus. What are there, ten of you here right now? If Kim was
here, there would have been 100."
Nurik said that Kim Rothstein has regularly visited her husband at the Federal Detention Center in Miami.
The Sun-Sentinel reports that a shackled and handcuffed Rothstein was in khaki scrubs with a white undershirt and white prison sandals. He responded to Judge Cohn with a couple of variations of "yes, your honor" during the brief hearing.
Nurik didn't talk about the plea deal but gave us a great clue as to what prison sentence he is seeking for Rothstein. "The Dreier case is eerily similar," Nurik said.
New York attorney and scam artist Marc Dreier was sentenced to 20 years in prison in July.
(That gives me yet more indication that I should raise my over-under of 22 years.)
When asked if it might be possible that Rothstein would bond out of prison before sentencing (as did Dreier), Nurik acted skeptical. "How is he going to get a bond?" said Nurik. "How's he going to pay it?"
The interview with Nurik actually got around to this blog. When asked if Rothstein has been following the media coverage, Nurik quipped that he is demanding to see every item posted on the Daily Pulp blog. He then said he wasn't serious. "Sorry I can't give your blog a plug right now," he said.
A bit later, he teed off on some of Pulp's commenters.
"I respect what you do," he told me, "but if people don't have the balls to put their names to what they say on your blog, then I don't listen to them."
OK. Then I asked him if he was instructed by the government to lie to the public about Rothstein's cooperation with the feds.
"To quote George Bush, 'Read my lips,'" he began. "He has not been cooperating other than to help the government locate assets..."
I asked Nurik if he was reimbursed for the political contributions he gave out while employed by Rothstein. He said no, adding that he didn't give very much. I said, "Yeah about $5,000." He said, "If that." Records from CampaignMoney.com show that Nurik gave $4,800 to the Republican Party and John McCain -- Rothstein's favorites at the time -- during the 2008 federal election cycle.
Well, before, it was that Rothstein hadn't cooperated at all, so I think we're edging closer to the truth. When I asked him to, without naming names, tell me how many people within the law firm knew the nature of Rothstein's fraudulent scam, Nurik paused for several seconds, looking down, seeming to search for thought. For a second, I thought he was going to throw out a number, but then he apparently thought better of it.
"It would be better to answer that question after the plea," he said.