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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Lawyer charged with illegal bundling for Charlie Crist, John McCain



MIAMI (AP) - A former law partner of convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein was charged Friday with conspiring to violate federal campaign contribution laws involving thousands of dollars donated to the campaigns of John McCain and Charlie Christ.

Court records show the charges were filed against Russell Adler, who was a principal in the now-defunct Fort Lauderdale law firm Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, or RRA. The firm was liquidated after Rothstein's $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme was exposed in fall 2009.

Adler is charged with helping orchestrate thousands of dollars in bundled contributions from the firm's employees and attorneys to McCain's 2008 campaign for president with running mate Sarah Palin and Charlie Crist's run for the U.S. Senate. The contributions were illegally reimbursed by the law firm, federal prosecutors said.

There is no indication that McCain or Crist, or their campaigns, knew of the illegal scheme. Adler has consistently denied wrongdoing in the Ponzi scheme, which involved investments in phony legal settlements. Rothstein is serving a 50-year prison sentence for the scheme.

The type of filing used by prosecutors to charge Adler, called an information, usually indicates that the defendant intends to plead guilty. Neither Adler nor his attorney immediately responded to emails seeking comment. If convicted, Adler faces a maximum five-year prison sentence and up to $250,000 in fines....

...Rothstein held a June 2009 fund-raiser for Crist - at the time Florida's Republican governor running for the U.S. Senate - at his waterfront home in Fort Lauderdale. Prosecutors say people associated with the Rothstein firm raised more than $239,000 for Crist at the event, with some $26,000 illegally reimbursed to contributors by the law firm.

[Last modified: Friday, March 7, 2014 5:44pm]


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