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Stone on Charlie Crist, Rothstein and the money trail

Roger Stone, a veteran Republican operative involved in bringing down New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer, talks about his and Gov. Charlie Crist's relationship with Scott Rothstein, under scrutiny in an alleged ponzi scheme.

Stone said he and Rothstein founded a company called RRA Consulting, but it never got off the ground. He said they shuttered the company six months ago and, though Stone maintained an office at the firm’s Fort Lauderdale headquarters, he said he worked out of his Miami Beach home.

Stone said Rothstein pulled the law firm’s funding from his website, the StoneZone, after Stone began criticizing Gov. Charlie Crist, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer’s management of the party and George LeMieux, Crist’s former campaign guru and chief of staff whom he appointed to the U.S. Senate.

Rothstein and Crist had a symbiotic relationship: The lawyer raised huge sums of cash the governor requested and the governor gave Rothstein the attention he seemed to crave.
“He often said Rothstein was ‘My favorite Jewish lawyer,’” Stone recalled.

Crist attended Rothstein’s wedding at the Versace mansion. Rothstein attended Crist’s 52nd birthday party in 2008 at The Breakers hotel in Palm Beach where the Republican Party held a fundraiser, auctioning birthday-cake candles for $5,200 a piece. Rothstein sponsored the cake with a $52,oo donation.***

Stone said Rothstein, at Crist’s request, held fundraisers in 2007 for Sen. Mel Martinez when donors were squeamish about giving to the Republican. After Martinez quit office early this year, Crist appointed LeMieux to full his seat.

Stone said the governor also persuaded Rothstein to hold a Miami cigar-bar fundraiser for Sen. John Ensign, a Nevada Republican who was a national player in GOP circles until suffering the fallout from a sex scandal.

“Rothstein wasn’t just providing fundraising for Charlie’s campaign,” Stone said, “he was providing money so that Crist had leverage and so that Jim Greer could keep eating filet mignon.”

But Rothstein branched out, deciding this year to contribute to Democrats as well. He gave a $200,000 check to the Florida Democratic Party. He also held a fundraiser for Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat running for governor who announced she’d return the $2,050 in campaign contributions directly contributed by Rothstein.

Rothstein also raised money for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

**Note: the numbers have been updated.