Roman took the stand Monday and Tuesday in an effort to prove he filed the lawsuit in good faith. Among his evidence was a brochure advertising Lewis' open house that showcased his personal car collection.
Roman said the brochure supported his lawsuit because it showed sudden "unexplained wealth."
U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke in Miami, in one of many moments of incredulity with Roman, asked late Monday: "You used this document? You used a real estate brochure?"
The sanctions hearing was scheduled for one day but stretched into Tuesday. Cooke refused to allow the tribe to call a money laundering expert, saying he had no bearing on Roman's justification for filing the lawsuit.
The Gunster law firm, representing the tribe, repeatedly delayed Roman's cross-examination by asking Cooke to take witnesses out of order. Gunster shareholder William Hill then told Cooke he was about to wrap up the direct questioning of Roman only to change course and say it would stretch into another day.
"This is taking too long," Cooke complained at one point Tuesday.
Oh come on Judge, who would want this to end? Paul Calli certainly doesn't... he's knocking it out of the park:
Attorney Paul Calli of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, representing Lewis Tein, initially objected to the open house brochure but changed his mind, saying the home was purchased in 2006 when Lewis Tein billed the tribe $40,000.
"Let it all in," he told Cooke.
In the last 45 minutes of the day, Calli was finally able to cross Roman. He asked Roman if he could prove if “one transaction or one dollar” went from Lewis Tein to Billy Cypress as a kickback. Roman said he did not have any such evidence and that he conjectured that fraud occurred based on the amount the firm charged the tribe. Roman also confirmed a tribal official’s deposition that he is being paid $250,000 a month to represent the tribe.
Cooke questioned Roman's long soliloquies Monday in justifying the lawsuit. "We are so far downstream as to what can possibly be credible," she said.
Meantime, she has a bond revocation hearing today for former Mayor Pizzi. The government's claim seems really weak. From the Herald:
Prosecutors have moved to revoke Pizzi's bond and detain him, claiming he violated the terms when he arranged to have a colleague send two email blasts about “corrupt” activity by other Miami Lakes officials to thousands of his supporters. Among the recipients: the town manager and other potential trial witnesses the former mayor was ordered not to contact by a federal magistrate judge.
Prosecutors made their move against Pizzi after they said he lied to the court’s probation office about his behind-the-scene’s role in sending the emails in April. Pizzi’s defense attorneys have called the prosecution’s actions “a shocking exercise of government overreaching” while trampling on his right to free speech. They have sought to dismiss his bribery indictment.
U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke has scheduled a hearing Wednesday to decide Pizzi's pre-trial fate. His trial starts July 8 with jury selection.
Pizzi’s first email, sent in early April, included references to Miami Lakes town manager Alex Rey in a “purported” press release made to look like it was issued by the Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, according to federal prosecutors. “The press release was misleading in that it improperly alleged that A.R. and his staff were engaged in corruption and awarding contracts illegally,” stated the prosecution’s motion to revoke Pizzi’s bond.
Rey, who received the email, is on the no-contact list because he is listed as a potential witness at Pizzi’s upcoming trial.
Pizzi said federal prosecutors and FBI agents have completely distorted his actions by implying he fabricated the press release cited in the email blasts to intimidate potential witnesses. He doesn’t dispute his role in sending them with the help of a public relations assistant.
His legal team called the prosecution’s strategy to revoke his $100,000 bond an “intrusion into Mr. Pizzi’s privacy and First Amendment rights,” defense attorneys Ed Shohat and Ben Kuehne wrote in a response to the government’s motion.
“Today the government seeks to punish Pizzi, who has scrupulously avoided any real contact with anyone on the no-contact list, for exercising his First Amendment right to expose corruption in the town of Miami Lakes,” they wrote Friday.