Posted Mar 13, 2014 06:00 pm CDT
A plea of not guilty to a federal election-law violation was entered Thursday by a former name partner of the now-shuttered South Florida law firm headed by convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein.
However, Russell Adler is already scheduled to plead guilty early next month in the election-law case, the Sun Sentinel reports. He faces a single charge of conspiracy to violate federal campaign contribution laws and defraud the U.S. government.
Currently suspended from law practice, Adler could get a maximum prison sentence of five years but likely will get a lesser sentence because of his cooperation and lack of any prior criminal record.
Adler, who chaired the litigation group at Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, had nothing to do with the $1.2 billion swindle for which Rothstein is serving a 50-year prison term, his lawyer, Fred Haddad, told the newspaper after the Fort Lauderdale federal court hearing.
“Russell didn’t commit a Ponzi crime, he got charged with what he did, and he’ll plead guilty to what he did,” Haddad said.
Prosecutors said Adler illegally paid tens of thousands of dollars to the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain and the U.S. Senate campaign of former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.
Roll Call’s Political MoneyLine blog says Adler is accused of accepting about $200,000 in law firm reimbursement for campaign contributions he allegedly made nearly five years ago.
There’s no evidence that either McCain, whose campaign got most of the money, or Crist were aware of the claimed scheme.
ABAJournal.com: “Name partner of shuttered Fla. law firm faces criminal case, wants to ‘get on with his life’”