Russell Adler charged with conspiring to violate campaign contribution laws

Partner in convicted Ponzi schemer's law firm expected to make plea deal

By Bob Norman - Investigative Reporter

MIAMI - Russell Adler, the 'A' in the infamous Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler (RRA) law firm run by convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, has been charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office with conspiring to violate federal campaign contribution laws, his attorney Fred Haddad confirmed Friday.

Adler is accused of making tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions only to be illegally reimbursed by Rothstein, who is serving a 50-year federal prison sentence on a conviction for what prosecutors said was a $1.2 billion fraud.

The firm was liquidated after Rothstein's Ponzi scheme was exposed in fall 2009.

According to the indictment, Adler was reimbursed about $200,000 in campaign contributions made to Republican presidential candidate John McCain in 2008 and another $5,000 made to former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

There is no indication that McCain or Crist knew of the illegal scheme.

Haddad said the recent conviction of Rothstein partner Christina Kitterman in a trial during which Rothstein testified helped seal his client's fate.

Adler's Florida law license is currently under suspension for lying in the application process for an apartment that Rothstein purchased for him in New York.

"The Federal Election Campaign Act is designed to limit financial influence in the election of candidates. Russell Adler blatantly ignored and circumvented clearly established campaign finance laws in an effort to increase the stature and apparent political power of RRA," said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. "The information filed today against Adler holds him accountable for his acts. Adler is now the seventh attorney and seventeenth accomplice to be held accountable in Rothstein's $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme."

Adler is expected to reach a plea bargain in the new federal criminal case.

"According to these charges, Russell S. Adler sought to undermine the campaign finance process and will now have to answer for his decision to do so," said Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro, FBI Miami. "This investigation is not over."

He has consistently denied wrongdoing.

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