A deposition for Ponzi-schemer extraordinaire Scott Rothstein scheduled to be held in December will not be videotaped, a federal judge ruled earlier in the week.
Rothstein is slated to be deposed on December 12 by creditors for several civil actions in state and federal courts related to his now-defunct Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm, but U.S. District Judge James Cohn sided with the government in a ruling to eliminate the possibility of filming it.
The filing from the feds seeking to block the taping is sealed, and Cohn's ruling doesn't give the exact reasoning behind the efforts, saying his decision "effectively summarizes the Government's sealed filing, without revealing anything not already in the public record."
Cohn does make a few statements that could spark some speculation, so we'll point those out for you.
The judge says the feds cited this law meant to protect government witnesses, and he ruled in the government's favor despite the feds not citing any case law in their filing.
Cohn states the government "has shown good cause and specifically identified a serious harm," enough for him to rule in its favor, although a filing from a lawyer representing one of the creditors alleged the government did not show a "specific identification of serious harm."
As you may recall, this deposition was delayed by six months while federal prosecutors are preparing another round of indictments related to Rothstein, but that was for a different reason.
Prosecutors previously stated that they didn't want to tip off those about to be indicted, but their successful attempt to block the filming of the deposition appears to be for Rothstein's protection.
Here's about as specific as Cohn gets in his four-page ruling:
Upon a review of all the filings of this matter, the Court concludes that the Government has shown good cause and specifically identified a serious harm to justify elimination of videotaping of Rothstein's deposition. Videotaping or photographing of a protected person would create a security risk and jeopardize the safety of the protected person, as well as the potential undermining of the protection program with regard to future participants. The Government's specific information in this case is filed under seal for security reasons that are unusual in nature yet significant enough to warrant this relief. Under the appropriate balancing test, the need for the private parties to videotape Rothstein is outweighed by the security concerns raised by the Government.
In an attempt to appease the rest of us, Cohn writes, "The Court recognizes that this ruling will leave many unsatisfied, as it does not reveal the Government's specific reasons. There are rare occasions in our otherwise open society that certain information should not be publicly available."
Cohn also noted there will be no further hearings related to the videotaping of Rothstein's deposition.
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