A high-profile Los Angeles criminal defense attorney has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Eastern District U.S. Attorney's office where he admitted to the obstruction of justice by leaking confidential notes from a meeting of a client seeking to work out a cooperation agreement.
Eastern District prosecutors were probing a multimillion dollar drug trafficking enterprise, which at times hired Roger J. Rosen, whose clients also have included rock music impresario Phil Spector. Rosen passed a longtime client's confidential proffer notes to others involved in the enterprise.
The leak prompted members of the organization, headed by hip hop music promoter and manager James "Jimmy Henchman" Rosemond, to intimidate the man and his family so he would stop cooperating with the government. Two men were convicted of obstruction of justice in connection with the intimidation. One was Rosemond, who was also convicted in June 2012 of leading a continuing criminal enterprise, narcotics trafficking and money laundering among other things.
In the deferred prosecution agreement filed Thursday with Judge John Gleeson (See Profile), Rosen waived his right to have the case presented to a grand jury and "acknowledges that he engaged in, and is criminally culpable for" conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice.
Under the agreement in Unites States v. Rosen, 13-cr-450, Rosen, 68, will forfeit his law license and turn over $22,500, which reflect the fees he earned during the charged conspiracy. If he complies with the agreement's terms, prosecutors will dismiss the information in 18 months without prejudice.
Prosecutors said in the agreement that they opted for a deferred prosecution "based on several factors, including the defendant's serious medical condition."
Richard Willstatter, of Green & Willstatter in White Plains, represented Rosen.
"Roger Rosen is one of the most highly-respected lawyers in Los Angeles. The parties in this case have taken all of the circumstances into account in determining to enter into a deferred prosecution agreement. Mr. Rosen is ill and will be retiring from the practice of law on Nov. 1, 2013," Willstatter said in an interview. He declined to comment on the underlying facts or elaborate on Rosen's health.
Rosen did not return a call for comment. He was admitted to the bar in 1970 after graduating from the University of La Verne College of Law, according to his Martindale.com profile.
According to prosecution court papers, the case arose from the September 2010 arrest of Rosen's unidentified client, who was a cocaine supplier for the Rosemond organization. The organization hired Rosen "at various times" from 2009 to 2010 to represent members "following money seizures and/or arrests," according to prosecutors.
In December 2010, the client met with law enforcement in Brooklyn, hoping to obtain a cooperation agreement. The client was represented by an unidentified New York-based attorney working for Rosen.
The client spoke "at length" about the organization's operations, including the roles of Rosemond and his brother, Mario.
After the meeting, the New York attorney turned over the notes to Rosen, at the request of both the client and Rosen.
"Unbeknownst to either the client or New York counsel," the prosecution said Rosen showed the notes to Mario Rosemond and another man who supplied even more cocaine than the client.
Because of the leak, the prosecution said members of the organization "embarked on a campaign of threats, harassment and intimidation" against the client, his family and the New York-based attorney "all in an attempt to prevent the further cooperation of the client and to thwart the government's investigation."
By turning over the notes, prosecutors said Rosen knew the "high probability" members of the organization would try to stop the client's continued communication with law enforcement.
"However, Rosen deliberately closed his eyes to that probability," said prosecutors.
An Eastern District spokesman declined to comment.
The case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Una Dean and Steven Tiscione.
@|Andrew Keshner can be contacted at email@example.com.