Alleged Sicilian mobster and Scott Rothstein target Roberto Settineri was arraigned in federal court this morning. The pleas was not guilty, of course.
"We invoke discovery, demand a trial by jury -- we're ready," his lawyer, Jeffrey Weiner, told U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin Rosenbaum.
A handcuffed Settineri was in his olive prison garb and will remain in custody for the foreseeable future. His detention hearing was regrettably canceled (that's where we would likely have gotten some new details about the case), though Weiner said he intends to try in the future to get bond for his Italian client.
Settineri, who has a classic Roman profile, was silent during the hearing and spent a good deal of time scanning the audience. I made eye contact with him a handful of times. In his prison jumpsuit, he looked like he was walking out of central casting for a bad Mafia movie. Or maybe he just looks like the toughest George Costanza who has ever lived (there's another new photo after the jump).
After the hearing, attorney Weiner said he'd spoken to prosecutors and agents about the case and added that we only know the "tip of the
iceberg." Then he wouldn't reveal any new facts about the case.
Can't blame him for his silence; this thing is just starting, and he obviously doesn't want to talk out of school yet, at least until he gets the discovery in the case, which should be soon. There will be a hearing regarding discovery on April 9.
There's still a lot of speculation (and skepticism) about just how big a fish Settineri really is. For years, he's lived pretty quietly and has no known rap sheet prior to the new year. 2010, though, has been a real bear for him. In January, he was arrested on an aggravated assault charge after he allegedly showed a security guard his gun at the Soprano Cafe in Miami Beach (you can't make this stuff up) and threatened to kill him during an argument. Then comes this Rothstein Mafia thing.
It's pretty clear that he's associated with the Mafia, but is he made? Is he just an introduction artist or a real player? These are the questions we're waiting to get answered, but right now, as I've written here before, it doesn't look like he's worth any dramatic reduction in Rothstein's ultimate prison sentence.
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-- Someone asked for the photo page on the grand opening of the Downtown Jewish Chabad Center, which was financed with great help of Scott Rothstein. Well, here it is.
There are some great photos in there of Rabbi Schneur Kaplan with folks like Rothstein pal Ovi Levy and his favorite jeweler, Mark Levinson. But this time, I noticed a small face in the crowd of a major political player in Broward County in the photo below. See if you can find that person: