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A high-profile attorney with a list of celebrity clients was charged Wednesday with allegedly covering up a loan backed with $500,000 in drug profits, and coaching a federal grand jury witness to lie about it. At an initial court appearance in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., attorney Sam Burstyn was ordered jailed until a Monday bond hearing. The charges stem from a loan made by Burstyn to an undisclosed owner of a company called Auto Fund of Atlanta in 1998, for which he allegedly took drug money as collateral, prosecutors charged. One company owner, Jeffrey Tobin, who was indicted on marijuana smuggling charges last year, repaid part of the loan with checks, but Burstyn was allegedly unwilling to use the cash collateral as repayment “because of possible detection by law enforcement,” the indictment said. Burstyn — whose celebrity clients have included actress Robin Givens, and the estranged wives of tennis player Boris Becker and German billionaire Alexander Otto — allegedly acted as “house counsel” for the $80 million marijuana smuggling venture, the indictment charged. Prosecutors alleged Burstyn tried to cover up the loan by advising a grand jury witness to lie about it. “If you were to see him now, you would be struck by how confident he is that he will be acquitted,” said Robert Dunlap, who represented Burstyn in court Wednesday. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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