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January 27, 2010 2:06 PM

Scott Rothstein Pleads Guilty

Posted by Ross Todd

Scott Rothstein pleaded guilty Wednesday to engineering a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme through the Fort Lauderdale law firm he once led. The Am Law Daily has come to expect drama surrounding all things Rothstein, and Wednesday's event didn't disappoint, according to this story (subscription required) by John Pacenti at sibling publication the Daily Business Review, reporting from inside--and outside--a Florida federal courtroom.

Pacenti reports that it was standing-room-only in federal district judge James Cohn's courtroom as the former chairman of the 70-lawyer Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler firm pleaded guilty as charged to building a Ponzi scheme on nonexistent legal settlements. Rothstein made no statements about his crime, and prosecutors read no statement of facts.

But outside the courtroom, Rothstein's wife "had plenty to say," Pacenti reports.

"Today is the saddest day of my life,” Kim Rothstein said to the gathered media while flanked by her lawyer, family members, and a bodyguard. “Two years ago, when I married the sweetest man I’d ever met, I would never have believed our future together would come to this.” She said that though she had committed no crime, she has nonetheless been subjected to slurs unsupported by the facts. As she was escorted to a waiting Cadillac Escalade, Pacenti reports, a television videographer and her bodyguard tussled, with both ending up on the ground.

Lawyer William Scherer of Conrad & Scherer in Fort Lauderdale, who is suing on behalf of victims of Rothstein, told the DBR he wondered where Kim Rothstein was getting the money for her Cadillac and bodyguards.  “I don’t know where all that’s coming from,” Scherer said.

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