Stuart Rosenfeldt
Stuart Rosenfeldt (Melanie Bell)

Attorney Stuart Rosenfeldt, one of two equity partners in con man Scott Rothstein’s once-powerful Fort Lauderdale law firm, has a substance abuse problem, it was revealed in court Wednesday as he made his intial appearance on charges tied to the $1.2 billion fraud.

Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman in Miami, Rosenfeldt pleaded not guilty to conspiracy as a pro forma measure with plans to change his plea June 11 under a deal with prosecutors.

Rosenfeldt surrendered Wednesday morning, was granted $250,000 personal surety bond by Goodman and was expected to be released later in the day.

“If he was going to flee, he would have fled by now,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence LaVecchio told Goodman.

Defense attorney Bruce Lehr, a partner at Lehr Levi & Mendez in Miami, asked the judge if his client could have 30 days to “test clean” to comply with pretrial drug abuse counseling.

Outside court, Lehr conceded Rosenfeldt has a drug abuse problem but would not name the substance to protect his client’s privacy. However, the 30-day request indicates the substance is marijuana because it takes that long for traces to be removed from the body.

Rosenfeldt appeared in court a bit thinner and tanned in a off-white dress shirt and olive slacks.

Rosenfeldt’s conspiracy charge alleges his involvement in check kiting, strong-arming a prostitute to leave town and illegal campaign contributions. He faces up to five years in prison under the criminal information filed May 22.

Rothstein is serving a 50-year prison sentence for running a settlement financing fraud at Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, a 70-attorney labor and employment firm.