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Under oath, Scott Rothstein spreads the blame for ponzi scheme

Scott Rothstein — sporting jeans, T-shirt, buzz cut, goatee and a buff physique — testified Monday for the first time about his $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme that shocked South Florida’s legal, charitable and political worlds.

Rothstein, who is serving a 50-year prison sentence on a racketeering conspiracy conviction, took the witness stand for an unprecedented deposition in the bankruptcy case of his now-defunct Fort Lauderdale law firm, which he used to sell fabricated legal settlements to wealthy investors.

Rothstein’s testimony, closed to the public and media, drew about 35 attorneys representing victims to an 11th-floor courtroom in the James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building in downtown Miami. They asked the disbarred 49-year-old lawyer about his credibility, his law firm, the scam, his collaborators and lifestyle — all fair game during the civil deposition, expected to last two weeks. Story here.