One-time highflying Fort Lauderdale lawyer Scott Rothstein accused Charlie Crist of selling judgeships while serving as Florida governor during courtroom testimony this week in an unrelated case as reported by Marc Caputo for the Miami Herald: "Crist had tapped Rothstein to the Judicial Nominating Commission for the Fourth District Court of Appeal and the Broward Circuit Court," and "under oath, Rothstein portrayed the former Republican governor, Crist, as someone who essentially sold 'a few' unspecified Broward County circuit court judicial appointments in return for political contributions."
Predictably, Crist denies the allegations as he runs to get his old job back, and his campaign dismisses Rothstein as a convicted felon with no credibility who is looking for a reduced sentence as a cooperating witness with federal prosecutors investigating political corruption in South Florida. Rothstein ran a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme involving his law firm as a front to sell phony legal settlements to investors, and got fifty years in prison for the crime.
No doubt Rothstein is a fraudster but at least some of his allegations in other matters have proven true with corroborating evidence.
For example, Rothstein cooperated with the FBI in a sting which resulted in the bust of Miami Beach wine merchant Roberto Settineri whom U.S. and Italian authorities suspect is an intermediary between the Gambino crime family and the Santa Maria de Gesu clan from Cosa Nostra or the Sicilian Mafia. Settineri was sentenced in November 2010 to four years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering.
And Crist is hardly in the position to challenge another's credibility. The former Governor is aptly called Charlie Hypocrist in the Sunshine State because he's a political chamelon and unprincipled opportunist who changes his parties and positions more frequently than Sybil changes her personality.