7/12/2011, reposted from News and Insight.com
NEW YORK, July 12 (Reuters) - A high-profile criminal-defense attorney may be asked to step aside from a case involving a record executive accused of spearheading a bicoastal cocaine smuggling ring, after prosecutors claimed his ties to the underlying charges may create an "appearance of impropriety."
In a letter sent Monday to U.S. District Judge John Gleeson, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said that they intend to introduce evidence that the attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, has served as "house counsel" to Czar Entertainment CEO James Rosemond's alleged criminal empire, and that he will be asked to take the stand if the case goes to trial.
Lichtman -- who has defended reputed mobster John Gotti, Jr., among others -- has represented other individuals charged in connection with the drug-trafficking ring and accepted $150,000 in cash for his legal services that may be traced back to profits from the scheme, prosecutors said.
The letter said Rosemond could waive any potential conflict of interest and allow Lichtman to stay on as his attorney.
But the court may also choose on its own to disqualify Rosemond, the letter stated, if it decides "the cumulative effect of the myriad conflicts are of such a depth and breadth that the court has an independent interest in ensuring its institutional integrity."
Lichtman said that attempts to cast doubt on his ability to represent Rosemond were "just an effort to make the prosecutors' path to conviction easier."
Prosecutors acknowledged in their letter that Lichtman had filled out all appropriate paperwork detailing cash payments for legal fees. Additionally, he said he has offered to take a polygraph test to disprove any other allegations made by cooperating witnesses in the case.
$10 MILLION SCHEME CHARGED
Prosecutors said Rosemond's scheme started in 2007 and brought in more than $10 million by shuttling drugs from Los Angeles to New York packed in vacuum-sealed mustard packets and musicians' gear.
In June, Rosemond was linked to a 1994 attack on rapper Tupac Shakur by a convicted murderer who claimed to have been paid $2,500 by Rosemond to rob Shakur. Shakur was shot five times but survived. New York police said they were investigating the claim. Rosemond has not been charged with any crimes connected to the attack.
Rosemond, 46, is the co-founder of Czar Entertainment, whose artists include Sean Kingston and The Game, according to the company's website. He was arrested May 11 outside a Manhattan hotel.
He is charged with operating a criminal enterprise, cocaine trafficking, obstruction of justice and money laundering conspiracy, among related charges.
The case is U.S. v. Rosemond, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, no. 11-424.
For Rosemond: Marc Fernich of the Law Offices of Marc Fernich and Jeffrey Lichtman of the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman.
For the U.S.: Assistant U.S. attorneys Carolyn Pokorny and Todd Kaminsky.
(Reporting by Jessica Dye)
hope he gets wut he deserves...
cocaine in mustard packets? and artist's gear?....
wow...its a cold blooded world...if i were his artist...this means my own manager doesnt care if i went to prison....