Lawyer's racketeering sentence hearing to continue


Associated Press

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 7:02 AM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 3 at 7:02 AM

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) — An Austin personal injury attorney had to wait an extra day to learn his sentence for his federal racketeering conviction in Brownsville.

After nearly five hours of testimony Monday evening, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen said he would hear a bit more before recessing. He said, however, that Marc Rosenthal's sentencing wouldn't come until Tuesday afternoon.

A jury in Corpus Christi convicted Rosenthal in February on 13 counts that included racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud and tampering with a proceeding. The verdict came after a four-week trial.

Prosecutors alleged Rosenthal was one of the lawyers who bribed former state District Judge Abel Limas for favorable decisions. Limas also had a deal to go to work for Rosenthal's firm after leaving the bench. Instead, Limas was arrested in 2011 and resigned.

Rosenthal was among a dozen people, mostly lawyers, snagged in the investigation, which had Limas at its center. Limas, who cooperated extensively with authorities, was sentenced in August to six years in prison.

Rosenthal's arrangement with Limas appeared to be lucrative. Prosecutors filed a motion Monday detailing four cases in which Rosenthal won large settlements through undue influence. The government asked that Rosenthal be ordered to forfeit more than $7.8 million.

Among his deeds, Rosenthal paid witnesses to testify a certain way and even paid someone to act as a witness who in reality had not been at the scene, according to court documents. Rosenthal's middle man for some of these activities was former state legislator Jose Santiago "Jim" Solis who worked "of counsel" for his firm in Brownsville. Solis was sentenced to nearly four years in prison in August.

In January, Limas testified that Rosenthal offered him $100,000 plus a percentage of attorney fees for cases that he brought him after leaving office. While Limas was still in office, Rosenthal helped fund his campaign and promised him a cut of attorney fees, Limas said.

The largest case was a $14 million settlement after the 2008 crash of a medical services helicopter.

Recorded conversations and phone calls between Limas, Solis and others laid out a plan to give Limas 10 percent of the attorney fees from the helicopter crash case settlement, according to court documents.

Rosenthal was arrested in 2011.