Posted Aug 23, 2011 05:51 pm CDT
An Austin attorney has been federally indicted concerning his alleged role in a Texas court corruption scheme in which a former state district judge and two other lawyers have already taken pleas.
Marc Garrett Rosenthal, 49, is accused in a 13-count indictment unsealed yesterday of paying ex-Judge Abel Corral Limas for favorable rulings, as well as bribing witnesses, conspiring to file state and federal personal injury cases relying on false testimony and directing others to pay nonlawyers for referrals of cases to his firm, according to the Associated Press.
Rosenthal faces charges of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute, witness-tampering and fraud charges, among others, reports the Brownsville Herald. (The American-Statesman provides a full rundown.)
The Herald says Rosenthal is also accused of arranging for others to manipulate the Cameron County District Court case assignment system, so that cases went to the courts they preferred.
Rosenthal, whose law firm has a satellite office in the Rio Grande Valley, turned himself in yesterday in Brownsville and was released on $100,000 bond. In addition to the substantial prison time to which he could be sentenced, if convicted, the government is seeking to recoup from him nearly $6 million in claimed profit from the alleged scheme.
He pleaded not guilty and his lawyer, Ernesto Gamez Jr., blamed a former Texas lawmaker, Jose Santiago “Jim” Solis, who served as counsel to Rosenthal’s firm in Brownsville, calling Solis a rogue lawyer who is trying to pin blame on Rosenthal, the AP reports.
Rosenthal’s law firm, Rosenthal & Watson, in a written statement called admissions of guilt by others “disheartening,” but said the firm knew nothing about the others’ actions and expressed confidence that Rosenthal will be vindicated.
Rosenthal told the Herald that he is innocent, that he looks forward to clearing his name and that he is hurt by the accusations against him. “The families of South Texas, the working men and women of South Texas, know I am fighter, that I do what it takes within the law and I am a champion of right and wrong,” Rosenthal said.
Limas, Solis and another lawyer, Jose Martin “Joe” Valle, earlier pleaded guilty to various charges related to a racketeering and extortion scheme related to the operation of Limas’ courtroom and await sentencing. None of the articles indicate that there was any relationship between Rosenthal and Valle.
Additional and related coverage:
ABAJournal.com: “South Texas Attorney Takes Plea in Corrupt-Judge Case”
ABAJournal.com: “Suit Seeks Return of Legal Fees in Win Allegedly Obtained Through Judicial Bribery”
Action 4 News: “Sentencing postponed for former State Rep. Jim Solis”