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Imprisoned Ponzi-Schemer Ex-Lawyer Explodes at Murder Insinuation

Posted Jan 4, 2012 9:48 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein told a lawyer questioning him that she was “disgusting” for insinuating he was involved in the murder of a partner at his one-time Florida law firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler.

The exchange occurred in a Dec. 22 deposition that was released on Tuesday. The Sun Sentinel, the South Florida Business Journal and the Broward Palm Beach New Times blog the Pulp covered the testimony.

Disbarred lawyer Rothstein exploded in anger when lawyer Mary Barzee Flores, who is representing Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust, asked Rothstein about the murder of partner Melissa Britt Lewis.

Tony Villegas, the former husband of the law firm’s chief operating officer, Debra Villegas, has been charged in the murder. Tony Villegas reportedly blamed Lewis for the break-up with his wife.

But Barzee Flores suggested a different scenario for the death of Lewis:

Barzee-Flores: She was murdered because she knew too much, right?

Rothstein: Excuse me? Are you attempting to insinuate that I had something to do with that poor girl's death? Have you lost your mind?

Barzee Flores: You would deny that?

Rothstein: I would deny it? You're disgusting. Everyone knows that I wasn't involved in it. That's disgusting.

Rothstein has acknowledged an affair with Lewis when he taught her in law school.

Gilbraltar Private Bank & Trust is a defendant in a suit claiming it should have known about illegal transfers made by Rothstein.

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