Eggelletion: Helping People Led to Prison; Lippman Not Pleading the Fifth

After he tearfully pleaded guilty to money laundering and tax crimes, former Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion called into the Joyce Kaufman show on WFTL 850-AM.

Going Away On May 3
Let me say that I never thought I'd see the day that Eggelletion would plead guilty, much less do so with tears and an apology. But I think he knew that if he went to trial, a whole lot of things would come out that he didn't want people, including those closest to him, to know. More important, he also had to know that the odds were that after an embarrassing trial, he'd probably lose anyway and wind up doing a whole lot more time in prison than the 30 months prosecutors agreed to.

But one thing is clear: His defiance disappeared pretty quickly, and all things considered, he handled the situation as well could be expected.

So it was all about contrition today -- until he got going on Kaufman's show. Then he showed a glimpse of the defiance you see in that mug shot of his. The ball got rolling when Kaufman mentioned that Fitzroy Salesman, the former Miramar commissioner who is fighting his own charges at trial, had introduced him to federal agents. 

"Yeah, [Salesman] had called my office and indicated that there were some individuals he felt that I should meet that were looking to do some business with the county, and I've always had an open-door policy, Joyce... I've always believed in helping

people," Eggelletion said. "You know, my dad always taught me that it doesn't matter how high in life you go that if you can't reach back and help someone reach where you have gotten, then you haven't done a whole lot... These people who came to my office I found out later on after I got arrested that they were undercover agents."

I just have to wonder if his dad meant helping people who wanted to run dirty money through the Bahamas, which is the role federal agents played. I also can't see how stuffing dirty money in his golf bag was helping anyone but himself. But let's let Eggelletion keep telling it.

"I guess they were trying to talk me into dealing with them on some contracts, and I just refused to do that, so as the prosecutor pointed out in court today, I guess that's when they set up the sting or what they referred to as a government-created crime," said Eggelletion.

At that point, it sounded like the fallen commissioner was flying off the script and claiming to have been the victim here rather than the perpetrator. But he quickly caught himself:

"I'm not justifying my actions, and I don't want to sound like I'm justifying my actions," he said. "What I did was wrong."

Yes, and the same thing goes for Salesman and former School Board Member Beverly Gallagher. While the train has probably left the station for Salesman, I believe Gallagher will ultimately strike a plea deal. That's the scuttlebutt anyway.  

Lippman, Smith, patriotic lady, Rothstein, Adler
-- Unlike Michael Szafranski, former Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler attorney Steven Lippman has agreed to be deposed by bankruptcy attorneys without pleading the Fifth.

From the Daily Business Review (which has been stepping up to the plate on the Rothstein story lately):

Lippman's attorney in the bankruptcy case, Patrick Scott of GrayRobinson in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said afterward that his client "denies any complicity in Rothstein's scheme." He did not elaborate.

Lippman's criminal defense attorney, Bruce Zimet, said his client wants to clear the air.

"There is a lot of fictions and half-truths so far, and we want to make sure the record is complete with the full truth," he said. "At the end of the day, he is as much a victim as anyone else is in this case."

Lippman earned all the money he received at the firm and has been fully cooperating with investigators examining Rothstein's $1.2 billion fraud based on financing fake settlements, Zimet said. He said he does not expect his client to be criminally charged.

"The allegations against Rothstein was that he used the legitimate law firm as a front for the Ponzi scheme," Zimet said. "Lippman was the cornerstone in that legitimate law firm. He had nothing to do with the Ponzi scheme."

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