Posted Nov 25, 2013 09:50 pm CST
Disbarred attorney Scott Rothstein, who is serving a 50-year prison term for his role in a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme, must testify as a defense witness at the January trial of one of the lawyers who formerly worked for his South Florida law firm, a federal judge has ruled.
However, attorney Christina Kitterman must pay the costs of transporting Rothstein for trial, including his security, ruled Senior U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley in his Friday order. Those costs could total $20,000 because Rothstein is in the federal witness protection program, the Sun-Sentinel reports. It isn’t clear why the government hasn’t called Rothstein, who has cooperated with prosecutors, as a witness in the case.
Kitterman, who is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, is accused of participating in phone conversations with Rothstein and investors he defrauded.
Lawyers not involved in the case question how Kitterman can be required to pay the costs of producing Rothstein as a witness, the newspaper reports.
“The government can’t just hide an exculpatory witness and ask for exorbitant amounts of money to produce her accuser so she can confront him in court,” said Richard Rosenbaum. He is a criminal defense attorney who practices in Fort Lauderdale.
The issue hasn’t come up previously because other lawyers from Rothstein’s former Fort Lauderdale law firm who have faced criminal charges have taken pleas, the Sun-Sentinel notes.