(CN) – An Austin personal injury attorney is charged with conspiring to bribe a south Texas state judge and witnesses in state and federal cases.
Marc Garrett Rosenthal, 49, a partner in Rosenthal & Watson, also is accused of filing fraudulent personal injury cases in state and federal courts and depriving citizens of Cameron County of the right to honest services of an elected official, federal prosecutors said.
A 13-count federal indictment unsealed Monday alleges that from November 2005 until December 2009, Rosenthal and others, including 404th Judicial District Court Judge Abel Limas and former state legislator and attorney Jose “Jim” Solis, schemed for Rosenthal directly, or facilitated by Solis, to pay bribes to Limas which resulted in favorable court rulings for Rosenthal & Watson clients.
If convicted, Rosenthal faces up to 20 years in federal prison on each count.
Prosecutors say Rosenthal directed others to pay people, including funeral home directors and a public employee, for referral of personal injury cases.
They say he arranged manipulate the random case-assignment system at the Cameron County District Clerk’s Office so that cases were filed in courts preferred by Rosenthal & Watson. He also is accused of paying witnesses to provide false testimony and statements.
Rosenthal is charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the RICO statute, five counts of mail fraud, three counts of tampering with witnesses or proceedings, one count of extortion and three counts of mail fraud, aiding and abetting and deprivation of honest services.
The government also seeks criminal forfeitures of $6 million.
Rosenthal surrendered to federal authorities in Brownsville on Monday.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Felix Recio set bond at $100,000. Jury selection is scheduled for Oct. 6 before U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, in Brownsville.
Rosenthal & Watson said it is standing behind the attorney. “The admissions of wrongdoing from the judge and others are disheartening,” the firm said in a statement.” But we were not aware of their improper activities. We expect to see Marc vindicated.”
Rosenthal is represented by Ernesto Gamez of Brownsville and John Patrick Smith of Houston.