Fields: What Latest Rothstein Arrest Really Means




Con Man Scott Rothstein’s former law partner Steven Lippman has been charged in an Information by the U.S. Attorney with a single count of Conspiracy to Violate Federal Elections Law.

Allow me to translate “Federal legalese”.

The fact that it’s a single count done by “Information” and Lippman is currently the only one charged makes clear that he is co-operating—read snitching—to reduce his sentence.

Expect to him to quickly plead with a “5K Agreement”.

For those not familiar with the underlying crime and the meaning of “5K” allow me to fill in the blanks.

Back before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations could spend unlimited amounts on Federal elections (Citizens United v FEC–2010) it was illegal for corporate $$$$ (Rothstein’s firm was a corporation) to be contributed to Federal elections — U. S. House, U. S. Senate or President.

Furthermore, it was then and is now illegal to conceal the true giver of a campaign contribution.

The Crime

To conceal law breaking, Rothstein had some of his partners–and apparently their family members–write personal checks which were later illegally reimbursed from the firm’s corporate $$$$.  A big-time criminal No, No.

Federal elections records show that between 2007 and 2009 Lippman and his wife gave something in the range of $200,000 to everything from McCain/Palin to $10,000 to The Republican Campaign Committee of New Mexico—“Gracias, Senor Lippman”.

The Rothstein firm secretly kicked tens of thousands, if not all of it, back.

(I’m leaving her name out although it is worth noting, notwithstanding being a major GOP giver; she was and is a registered Democrat.)

How I Know He’s Squealing

The first tip that Lippman is cooperating comes from the word he was charged by “Information” instead of by Grand Jury “Indictment”. In the Federal system, he is legally entitled to demand a Grand Jury Indictment.

An Indictment means the Grand Juriors took sworn statements from key government witnesses.  The Defense is entitled to those statements. At trial they could be gold in discrediting government witnesses who change their stories.  No lawyer worth his salt would waive that unless his client was already co-operating with the prosecutors.

Secondly, it is a single count.  Even the most casual review of FEC records shows that Lippman’s illegal contributions were habitual.  Each illegal contribution involved separate

crimes.  If he were not co-operating the Feds would have piled it on with dozens of counts.

Thirdly, he is the only one charged.   That means Lippman won “The Race To The Courthouse” over his former law partners.

Most importantly, Mrs. Lippman was not charged.  It’s clear that the deal includes not charging his wife or any other family members.

Expect that in the next couple of weeks that Lippman will enter a plea with a “5K” Agreement.  A “5K Agreement” is one where the government is saying that the defendant is “coping a plea” and co-operating with the government:  “So, judge, give him a break on the sentence.”

Stay tuned.

(Sam Fields is a veteran criminal defense lawyer.)

11 Responses to “Fields: What Latest Rothstein Arrest Really Means”

  1. Legal says:

    There was wide spread conversation at the Courthouse yesterday that Scott Rothstein, Steven Lippman, Charlie Christ Campaign people, Al Lamberti, Tom Wheeler, David Benjamin, Scott Israel, Roger Stone, Judy Stern and others will have big problems beginning in 2007 into the 2008 election. Apparently, many election laws were violations . All worked out deals behind the scenes involving others to get campaign checks above a person or corporations limits. Lamberti received hundreds of thousands and Israel got 190,000.00 from Rothstein. Also, big talk about clawback to recovery the money. Its known Rothstein took care of Charlie too. This doesn’t seem to be close to being over yet.

  2. JD says:

    I don’t think Charlie has any problems, but the others seem to be deep in election law violations that are serious. The campaign corporations are a big problem and the listed officers on the corporations are giving it all up on how they got the money, who gave the money and for what 2008 campaigns benefited. It’s going to be a mess.

  3. christine says:

    At long last, a non vitrolic post from Sam. You do best when you stick to the things you know…like this!

  4. jack latona says:

    Sam, it is still against the law for corporations to contribute to federal campaign. what Citizens did was make clear that corporations, unions and not for profits like the Sierra Club could make independent expenditures, what some might call freedom of speech.

  5. Sam the Sham says:

    Thank you Sam. You finally posted something worth reading.

  6. Sidelines says:

    Only the Feds/DOJ could dig this deep. There’s other questionable stuff from less high profile players that should be looked into if they want to stick around Broward.

  7. SAM FIELDS says:


  8. Real Deal says:

    Hey Sam,

    Do you think the courts will pursure political campaigns from 2008 under the claw back. There is a lot of talk about this happening soon ,except more and more investigative information keeps coming to light, which is prolonging it. Do you think politicos will fall as a result.


    I have a thought on this. Many of these campaign organizations no longer exist. I don’t see how you can collect money from entities that have dissolved and spent all their money. However, I don’t know what the candidate’s liability would be.

  9. The Pendulum Swings says:

    I’m waiting for Lamberti to be escorted out of his office by the Feds. He’s very quiet all of a sudden!

  10. Donnie Schlubb says:

    Pendulum Swings raises an interesting point, Sam. Have you or Buddy heard of when or if Lamberti is going to be arrested? He was one of Rothstein’s favorite politicians.

  11. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    What does all this mean Buddy? I’ll tell you there are more out there. Trust me. Mayor Seiler stated to me at last week’s comm. meeting that this whole mess is under investigation by the Feds-Well move your ass. It doesn’t help when we have a sitting City Police Chief Frank Adderly that was best friend’s w/ the jerk. There’s that famous duffle bag, where is it? And also that tramp that was being housed up at the famous Sea Club. Where is she? I’ll tell you I smell more than a rat. Investigation my ass-you put Rothstein up against a wall in his Protective Custody cell and tell him where’s the duffle bag($$) befor e we tell City Activist Robert Walsh where your being housed. Sickening- Your involvement w/ Rothstein Chief Adderly warrants your imminent(its coming) termination. Get on your hands and knees and apologize to your ex-wife, befor e the shit hits the fan. OOOH I know you where cleared by the FBI-and FDLE-BIG DEAL. An d you paid for your meals/drinks at Bova-where”s the tramp that serve d you the drinks??.