Video: Debra Villegas Tells of Rothstein's Affair With Melissa Lewis
Notice that the officer persuades Villegas to talk by telling her this portion of their
conversation is "off the record," although the camera is rolling the whole time. Villegas says the affair was the reason Lewis briefly left Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler and went to work for another law firm, Shutts & Bowen.
"The other attorneys were always talking about it, and she just felt uncomfortable," Villegas said.
At first, the cop tells Villegas there's a way they can explain Lewis' brief exodus from the firm without mentioning the affair. He later explains that the full story will likely come out in the first-degree murder trial of Tony Villegas.
Tony, who is Debra's estranged ex-husband, has been charged with strangling Lewis and dumping her body in a canal in March 2008. In previous interviews with the police, Debra and her children described Tony as a violent, abusive husband who was jealous of anyone who spent time with Debra, and blamed Lewis for his divorce.
But since the news of Scott Rothstein's massive Ponzi scheme came to light last fall, some outsiders have speculated that Rothstein may have wanted Lewis killed -- perhaps because she discovered the scheme. Rothstein has not been charged with any crime related to Lewis' death.
Still, news of the alleged affair -- which took place when Lewis was a law student -- will likely provide plenty of fodder for Tony's defense attorneys. The murder trial has been indefinitely delayed because Tony is depressed, and has been ruled incompetent to stand trial.
Note: On the video, portions of audio are missing because the judge in the murder case redacted the tape. The man shown in the foreground is Paul Lazarus, Debra Villegas' attorney at the time of the interview, in December 2009.