Fifth Circuit affirms former Austin plaintiffs attorney guilty of fraud in connection with bribing judge.
Marc Rosenthal, now serving a 20 year sentence in federal prison for bribing a South Texas judge, appealed a 2013 verdict which found the former Austin plaintiffs
attorney guilty of fraud, witness tampering, and racketeering. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed its verdict and rejected Rosenthal’s arguments of procedural errors and request for a new trial.
Rosenthal was a key defendant in a wide-ranging public corruption case involving former 404th District Judge Abel Limas of Brownsville. A former shareholder in Rosenthal & Watson, Rosenthal was indicted in 2011 for bribing Limas in exchange for favorable rulings and fabricating evidence.
Limas eventually left the bench and joined Rosenthal’s firm in an of counsel position. Limas pleaded guilty to a single racketeering charge in 2011.
Rosenthal argued during a 2013 trial that he was unaware of the scheme to bribe Limas. But a Brownsville federal jury convicted him of racketeering, witness tampering and fraud charges after hearing the testimony of 18 government witnesses, including Limas and former State Rep. Jim Solis—another of Rosenthal’s law partners who also pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting extortion. The jury heard wiretap recordings of conversations concerning cases in which Rosenthal and Solis wanted Limas to rule in their favor.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen sentenced Rosenthal to 20 years in prison on Dec. 3, 2013, and sentenced Limas to six years in prison that same day. Solis was sentenced to four years in prison, and Hanen ordered all three defendants joint and severally liable for $13.3 million in restitution.
On appeal, Rosenthal argued that he deserved a new trial over various procedural errors, including improper jury instructions, the improper admission of wiretap evidence and an improper statement made by a prosecutor during closing arguments in the case.
But in his Oct. 13 decision, Senior Judge Rhesa Barksdale rejected Rosenthal’s jury instruction and wiretap evidence arguments. He also ruled that the government did not commit reversible error when a prosecutor mentioned Limas’ guilty plea during a rebuttal closing argument.
Originally posted by John Council on TexasLawyer.com.
Attorney Guilty of Fraud – Ball & Bonholtzer Trial Attorney – Los Angeles