Christina Kitterman, one of the lawyers who formerly worked for Rothstein at his Las Olas Boulevard law firm, was charged in August with lying to some of Rothstein's investors to help keep his fraud afloat.
On Friday, a federal judge granted a request from Kitterman's defense attorney, Valentin Rodriguez, to force Rothstein to testify – as a defense witness – in her trial, which is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 6 in federal court in West Palm Beach.
"[Kitterman's] request to compel the production of Scott Rothstein at trial is granted," Senior U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley wrote in his order.
But the judge also ruled that Kitterman will have to pay the full cost of moving Rothstein from wherever he is being held, the cost of providing security for him, his prison lodging in South Florida, and the tab for sending him back when he's done.
That happened because prosecutors seemingly were not planning to call Rothstein on their side of the case, a position they did not explain in their court filings.
"The [U.S.] Marshals Service requires a minimum of ten days' notice in order to produce the witness, and that the defendant must bear the cost, in advance, of the transportation, housing and security attendant to the witness' production," Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence LaVecchio wrote in court records.
The location where Rothstein is serving his punishment has remained top secret because prosecutors and prison officials think he could be in danger because of his cooperation against people with ties to organized crime. Though Rothstein gave a series of depositions under tight security in the federal courthouse in Miami in late 2011 and 2012, the public and reporters were forbidden from attending. Official transcripts were released later.
Yours truly was also quoted along with some other lawyers:
"The government can't just hide an exculpatory witness and ask for exorbitant amounts of money to produce her accuser so she can confront him in court," said Richard Rosenbaum, a Fort Lauderdale defense attorney who is not involved in the case.
Rosenbaum said he heard from attorneys representing other defendants accused by Rothstein that it would cost an estimated $20,000 to bring Rothstein to testify in South Florida. The U.S. Marshals Service did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Though Rothstein's allegations are documented on a transcript, Rosenbaum said Kitterman's defense can't "cross-examine the transcript."
Recent revelations in court that Rothstein was helping his soon-to-be ex-wife Kim hide and sell more than $1 million worth of jewelry – after Scott Rothstein was supposedly cooperating and coming clean with prosecutors – have inflicted further damage on Rothstein's trustworthiness as a witness and could make him helpful to the defense, Rosenbaum said.
"It shoots his credibility to pieces," Rosenbaum said of the violation of Rothstein's agreement with prosecutors to tell the truth and confess all of his crimes. "It's also great fodder for the defense when they have Scott on the witness stand … because there he is basically double-timing the prosecution."
David Oscar Markus, a criminal trial and appellate lawyer based in Miami, agreed.
"Rule No.1 of criminal law is 'never trust a rat.' When you're talking about Scott Rothstein, the rat of all rats, Rule 1 is gospel. The feds should know better, but they generally ignore Rule No. 1," Markus said.