Who's afraid of Robert rose?

Jimmy Lewis White ran a red Volkswagen Beetle off the side of Highway 820 on Jan-uary 15, 1995. The Bug apparently flipped and rolled, killing driver John Marcellus, an off-duty Fort Worth police officer.

Tests after the accident pegged White's blood alcohol level at .25--more than double what the law allows. At least four people watched White's Ford pickup--a four-wheeler tricked out with macho tires and high-testosterone accessories--plow down the highway and hit three cars, including the Volks-wagen.

The 30-year-old plumber already had one drunken-driving conviction and refused to take a breath test at the scene. He told police he'd only had one beer that afternoon. Yet a bar tab showed that he and several buddies went through 11 pitchers while watching a football game.

The case against White looked formidable when a pair of Tarrant County prosecutors rolled out the state's evidence earlier this month--especially after Kathryn Wyatt took the stand.

A prosecutor's dream, Wyatt was a nervous, sweet 18-year-old without a lying bone in her body. She told jurors she was going 68 miles an hour when White's truck blew by her and went on to hit three other cars. Even Robert Rose, the combative Dallas attorney defending White, wasn't going to take out after an innocent teenager who was driving the family Bonneville to church when she saw the wreck.

The dead man's family packed the prosecution's side of the courtroom for five days straight. Virtually everyone watching the trial believed that Jimmy Lewis White was going down.

But Robert Rose, who hates to lose, decided to go straight for the throat of the prosecution's case: He would argue, remarkably, that White was not drunk at all.

Rose attempted to turn the state's best evidence--the .25 blood-alcohol level--to his advantage by calling an obscure expert to the stand. John Castle told jurors that blood taken from White after the accident surely had been infiltrated by yeast floating in the atmosphere. Yeast, of course, causes sugar to ferment, and that's what it did to the sugar naturally present in White's blood sample.

The alcohol found in White's blood, the expert testified, actually grew there after the blood was drawn from White's body.

In closing arguments, Rose told the jury the test must have been flawed. It would take at least 28 beers for White's blood alcohol to register at .25, he claimed; with that much beer in him, White would have been a staggering drunk. Yet the police had reported only a relatively slight appearance of intoxication.

And the accident? The speeding? The weaving in and out of traffic? The three cars White hit with his truck?

Faulty brakes, Rose argued.
After mulling things over for four hours, 12 citizens of Tarrant County voted to acquit. The verdict stunned White as much as the family of the police officer he killed.

Robert Rose loved it.
If there is one thing Rose wants right now, it is to prove to everyone--his ex-wife, all the people who detest him, and the prosecutors who want to send him to prison--that he is one kick-ass lawyer. "My problem is my personal life. My legal life is fine," Rose says. "I can try a case as good as anybody I know."

Rose's opportunities to prove that are rapidly running out. Early next month, the 45-year-old attorney is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Barefoot Sanders and surrender his law license. He will be sentenced on federal charges of tax evasion and wire fraud, and probably go to prison.

After 20 years of practicing law, Rose himself is going down.
Whether Rose will be taking anybody else to prison with him is a question sending Dallas County's legal community into raging fits of paranoia.

Rose pleaded guilty on two federal counts in January, admitting that he cheated on his taxes to the tune of at least $200,000, and that he fraudulently used someone else's frequent flier certificates to take an airline trip between Dallas and Las Vegas.

In and of themselves, the charges are not remarkable. But the plea remained secret, sealed at the request of the U.S. Attorney's office, for five months. And when it was unsealed, the courthouse crowd learned that Rose had also promised to give the government "truthful and complete" information about not just his crimes, but "all other criminal activities about which he has knowledge."

Rose, many in the courthouse feared, had become a government snitch.
Rumor and gossip are staples of the courthouse diet, consumed with the morning coffee by attorneys, judges, clerks, and bailiffs. There had already been talk of a federal investigation around the courthouse. Some lawyers swore they heard from somebody who knew that there was a stack of sealed indictments over at the U.S. Attorney's office, just waiting to be sprung. When that happened, the most extreme theories held, Dallas County's judicial system would be shaken to its very roots as handcuffed judges and lawyers were led away to jail.  

Word of Rose's plea bargain juiced the already overheated rumor mill up to warp speed.

As a criminal defense attorney, after all, Rose dealt regularly with cases involving drugs and large sums of cash. He practiced before some of Dallas' most prominent criminal court judges. And he was widely distrusted--an arrogant little advocate who might well have tried anything to win a case.

What was Rose telling the feds?
There were whispers of judges in imminent danger of indictment or arrest, talk of kickbacks and payoffs. Conventional wisdom held that Rose must have been wearing a wire or otherwise taping his conversations.

The Dallas Morning News, in its reports on Rose's plea, called it "part of an inquiry into allegations of public corruption, money laundering, and illegal drugs." One local television station reported that four judges were targets of the investigation.

U.S. Attorney Paul Coggins and his assistant handling the case, Michael Uhl, are remaining mute on the speculation of impending indictments.

Rose himself hotly denies wearing a wire, or snitching to the government about anything. Pressed to reveal any details of what happened during the five months his plea was a secret, Rose will only say: "I'll go to jail before I'll be a snitch."

If Rose won't shed any light on his "cooperation" with federal investigators, a private investigator who used to work for Rose is trying desperately to peddle his version of events. For the past few months, Kenneth Treuter has been approaching reporters around town, trying to pitch stories about Rose and payoffs to judges that have no readily apparent grounding in fact.

Treuter, perhaps one of the few people who has a worse reputation than Rose in legal circles, to date has not been able to convince anyone of his credibility, but has managed to keep the pot stirred.

Whatever is happening with the investigation, and Rose's part in it, the truth appears to fall far short of the dire whispers, in a gray zone of reality that will make for lukewarm gossip and few, if any, arrests.

Federal investigators have been poking around the courthouse, a source close to the investigation says. But so far, the agents haven't turned up much. Allegations of public corruption were plentiful, the source says, but "fortunately for Dallas County, the people, a lot of it just wasn't true. Just flat out wasn't true."

Time will tell if anyone else is charged based on information gleaned from Rose or others interviewed during the probe. But two months after his plea was unsealed, Rose remains the only one accused of a crime.

And Rose himself might never have attracted much attention--and ultimately been caught cheating on his taxes--if he had not been involved in a bitter divorce right about the time federal agents were sniffing around the Dallas County judicial system.

Bizarre though it may sound, the latest fit of corruption fever to hit the courthouse might not have erupted if Rose hadn't been caught in bed, by his wife, with another woman.

When Robert Rose first meets you, his eyes work like a grocery checkout scanner, registering appearance, clothes, jewelry, and any other details he can absorb. He is composed and confident, a man of below average height whose hairstyle attempts to make up some of the gap.

Rose's mind seems always to be running on fast forward, and he doesn't hold conversations so much as play verbal chess.

Although Rose makes a good first impression, it is easy to develop a dislike for him over time, many who have dealt with him say. The full extent of the paranoia Rose now engenders in legal circles is evident when other lawyers are asked about him. By nature, many attorneys are not slow to trash a colleague if promised anonymity. In Rose's case, some expressed fear of discussing him even off the record. One went so far as to pull out a tape recorder to capture the promise that her name not be attached to her comments.

Part of Rose's problem, critics concede, is that he is a successful defense lawyer, and others are not. "A lot of it is going to be professional jealousy, because he did have a bunch of clients, and he made a bunch of money," says one local attorney who says she has no respect for Rose. "Obviously whether he paid taxes on it or not we now know is a different story." (Since pleading guilty on his tax charge, Rose has paid the government more than $200,000, his attorney says, and had little trouble coming up with the money.)  

But a bigger part of the equation is Rose himself, a brash and intelligent man with a fondness for women, Vegas, and expensive suits. Many in the courthouse crowd don't like him, and don't trust him. "He's a very aggravating person," says Reed Prospere, Rose's own lawyer. "There are not a lot of smooth edges to Robert, not a lot of social graces."

Another attorney puts it more bluntly. "Everybody dislikes Robert," she says. "Prosecutors, defense attorneys. He doesn't have any particular friends. He's just a guy who has really skated along the edge for all these years, and it finally caught up with him."

Born and raised in Beaumont, Rose is the youngest of two sons of a well-to-do family. His parents, Pearl and Aaron Rose, ran a successful jewelry store in town, which they ultimately sold to the Zale Corporation. Rose's older brother is an orthodontist in Houston.

Rose entered the University of Texas at Austin in 1968, and his fraternity brothers do not have fond memories of college days with him. "He was nuts. He was one of the most obnoxious guys I ever met," says one fraternity brother. "When you first met him, you thought 'Here's this good-looking guy, real charming.' But as soon as [you] got past his face, he was almost antisocial in his behavior. He was one of the most repulsive people I ever met in my life."

Rose was a girl-chaser, like most college boys, but his good looks and first-blush charm wore off quickly. "In college he probably had 150 first dates," says another of his fraternity brothers. "He's a good face man, makes a good impression. But after you meet him, you realize you can't trust him."

After graduating with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1972, Rose entered law school at Southern Methodist University. He graduated in 1975 and earned his law license later that year.

Many fledgling lawyers, especially those hoping to work in criminal defense, try first to get hired in a district attorney's office. A few years spent prosecuting criminals makes it easier to defend them later on, and contacts built up at the courthouse can't hurt a lawyer's career. Rose skipped that step and went straight into private practice, fishing for clients amid the steady stream of drunk drivers, traffic violators, and felons who pass through the system.

Early on, Rose found himself in trouble with the State Bar of Texas, and was privately reprimanded for mishandling a client's case. The client, an Irving truck driver, received a traffic ticket for an improper lane change in August 1978. He hired Rose to handle it for him.

According to a complaint the driver filed with the bar in 1979, Rose failed to show up for court--not once but twice. Arrest warrants were issued for the driver, who almost went to jail before hiring another attorney to clear up the mess.

According to a transcript of Rose's disciplinary hearing, the bar had received eight complaints against Rose during his first four years of practice, most containing allegations similar to those the truck driver made.

Dallas attorney Robert Mow, who chaired the hearing in September 1979, at one point asked Rose if he had any idea how many court dates he had missed on behalf of clients. Rose said he did not.

Well, don't your clients call and complain? Mow asked. Yes, Rose answered. How many times has that happened? Mow asked. "I really don't know," Rose answered. "Maybe 10."

The committee voted to issue a private reprimand against Rose, and in the ordinary course of bar procedures the matter would have stayed secret forever. But in a move exhibiting either great brashness or stupidity, Rose then sued the committee for its action. The committee had disciplined Rose for "knowingly" mishandling the truck driver's case. In his lawsuit, Rose argued that he hadn't messed up the case "knowingly."

"I never at any time consciously failed to make these [court] appearances," Rose wrote. Instead, he said, the mistakes were "unintentional forgetfulness."

Whichever might be worse--missing a client's court date intentionally or through carelessness--Rose's lawsuit did not change the committee's mind. The suit was dismissed by agreement of both sides without going to trial. (Ironically, the attorney who investigated the complaints against Rose for the bar committee was Jack Hampton, now a criminal district judge. Rose has practiced in Hampton's court.)

Later in his career, Rose would also be sued at least twice by two former clients who were in prison. Each argued that Rose fouled up in representing them. One case was dismissed after the inmate missed a deadline for filing certain papers, and the other is pending.  

In the late 1970s, Rose also took his first fling at marriage, and apparently did not find it to his liking. He and his first wife, Denise, were married on December 8, 1978. By February 19, 1979, Rose had an attorney down at the courthouse filing for divorce, saying the couple had separated. The very next day, Rose's lawyer was back to withdraw the divorce petition, saying that the couple had reconciled. A few months later, Robert and Denise Rose finally were divorced. It would be a few years before Rose tried again.

In the meantime, he built up a successful practice. Friends and other attorneys say Rose regularly worked singles bars and hot nightclubs around Dallas, flashing rolls of cash and drumming up clients, dates, or both. He became an accomplished marathon runner, and was often seen in the late hours working out at a gym on Mockingbird Lane.

Rose's practice seems to have flourished. He kept a limo and party van available, with a driver, to ferry himself, friends and clients to sporting events. He bought a house on Inwood Road, now appraised at $366,000, and owned other rental property. Rose traveled to Vegas and to Florida, where he owned a partial share in a yacht. He was a regular at courthouse parties, not seen with the same woman too many times.

Rumors, distrust, and jealousy followed him, as they often do successful defense attorneys. Their clients sometimes pay in cash, and Rose reportedly received large sums that way.

Rose, an obsessive runner and fitness freak, says he personally detests drugs, although he doesn't have anything against booze. He went almost 20 years having no known trouble with the law beyond numerous traffic tickets and a citation for high weeds at his Inwood home.

Then he married again.

Robert Rose says it was obvious after two months that his second marriage was a big mistake. His ex-wife, Lisa, says it was four months. Harmony would not prove to be one of the couple's hallmarks.

"We just couldn't stand each other," he says. "I couldn't be married to her."

Counters Lisa: "He would disappear for weeks at a time and not tell me where he was. He never came home at night. I mean the guy would be out all night long. I never knew anything he was doing, where he was going. He'd leave town and he wouldn't tell me. He wouldn't call. There were so many secretive things about Robert."

Lisa Rose, 12 years younger than Robert, was a dental student when they first met. A dark-haired beauty, she takes some pleasure in noting that she scored higher than he on an IQ test. Lisa initially declined to be interviewed for this story. She consented when Robert Rose began leaving her phone messages threatening to reveal incriminating information about her life to the Observer.

One close spectator of the marriage, an associate of Robert Rose, says the match could never have worked. Robert married again mainly because his mother wanted him to, the associate says. Rose prepared a 35-page prenuptial agreement--protecting his assets as his sole property--which he presented for Lisa's signature the night before their wedding, after the rehearsal dinner.

Lisa says Robert told her, "I'm not going to show up tomorrow unless you sign this." She did.

Lisa Rose expected an "Ozzie and Harriet" marriage, the associate says, but Robert saw no reason to slow down just because he had a wife at home. "He couldn't keep a lock on it, if you know what I mean," says the associate.

"I was very impressed with what I thought I saw," Lisa says of the couple's early days. "He was very nice to me in the beginning.

"When Robert started taking me down to Oak Cliff to pick up $50,000 cash from a client and people came out with guns, then things started turning a little different."

The couple married in February 1989, and by May 1990 Lisa Rose had filed for divorce. She was pregnant when she filed, and paternity tests conducted during the course of the proceeding would confirm that Robert was the father of the baby boy.

The divorce, which dragged on for about four years, would prove to be a particularly vicious affair. The court record, which fills eight file jackets, was sealed by the presiding judge. Due to a clerk's error, the Observer was able to study the file for about two hours. Robert Rose, Lisa Rose, and attorneys involved in the case confirmed other aspects of the battle.

Robert accused his estranged wife of abusing cocaine--a claim she vehemently denies--and stealing more than $26,000 by using one of his credit cards. Lisa accused her estranged husband of assaulting her, and trying to arrange to have her killed. Those charges came in addition to the more conventional disagreements over money, custody, and child support, which were also stridently fought.  

Initially, one onlooker says, the couple tried getting back together. Lisa Rose still wanted a husband, and Robert Rose "wanted to reconcile. Not because he loved her, but because it was the right thing to do."

Any hope of making up was wiped out sometime in 1991, when--Robert and Lisa agree--she walked into the bedroom of their house on Inwood at about 3 a.m. and found Robert was not there alone.

"We had gone on a trip in January with his mom to Puerto Rico and we came back," Lisa says. "We were trying to work things out. And that's the point where I came home and found him in bed with this girl. That was basically about the end of the relationship."

Says Robert: "She caught me in bed with a girl. That's what started it. It was like three o'clock in the morning. She also found out I knocked up a girl while we were separated. She didn't like that a whole lot."

A family acquaintance says Robert wound up with a black eye after the early-morning blowup. "That's the only time I've ever hit anybody in my life," Lisa says. "Nothing ever felt better."

After the incident, the divorce battle was fully engaged. Into the fray walked a curious character, private investigator Kenneth Treuter, who had done scut work for Rose for several years.

Treuter contacted Lisa and said he was calling to warn her that Robert was looking to have her killed. "He called me one day out of the blue and told me that he had a tape that I needed to listen to," Lisa says. "Basically, he told me he had a tape of Robert soliciting to murder me. I didn't really believe him, except he said 'I want you to meet me. I've already told the police.'"

Lisa Rose, her sister, and Treuter met with Detective Jimmy Myers of the Irving Police Department. Myers remembers the meeting, although he can't recall why Treuter brought the case to the Irving police instead of Dallas.

"That was the beginning of it," Myers says. "We said 'Look, we've got this private investigator contacting us saying that Robert wants to kill you or have you killed, and you know of course we're going to take it seriously."

Police had little choice but to check out the allegations, Myers says. Lisa Rose was unsettled.

"My sister and I went down to the Irving Police Department and they played a series of tapes for me. Of Robert on tape," Lisa says. "The only thing they didn't have was him offering money. They had him telling Ken how to do it, what kind of car I drove, stating that he didn't care if our son was in it or not...I was scared shitless."

Telling the story now, Treuter claims that the Irving police wired him up for a conversation with Robert. Cops were listening outside, Treuter claims, when he met with Robert Rose at the Inwood Lounge and tried to draw him out on the supposed murder contract, but Robert Rose wouldn't cross the line and commit.

In fact, Detective Myers says, Treuter brought police a tape of the conversation he recorded himself with a pocket tape recorder, and it was far from conclusive. Irving police closed out the case, Myers says, when Treuter backpedaled and swore out an affidavit saying that the murder-for-hire allegation wasn't true. "He came back later on and said that that was all a setup, that (Robert) Rose was aware of that," says Myers.

Robert charges that Treuter and his ex-wife were conspiring to set him up with the phony allegations. Lisa says it was Treuter out to frighten her. Myers says Treuter laid the blame for the setup on Robert.

The truth is known only in the mind of Kenneth Treuter, who has changed his story again and is once more claiming that Robert Rose did want him to kill his estranged wife.

But the murder-solicitation charges were not the only allegations against Rose that would spring from Treuter over the next few years. And many of his claims--in some form or another--would ultimately attract the notice of federal investigators.

Kenneth Treuter calls and suggests a lunch meeting, saying he has hot information on the Robert Rose case. He brings along his partner, Teresa Radke. Together, Treuter and Radke make up FIST--the Ferret Investigative Service of Texas. Their business cards sport a full-color photo of a stuffed ferret on one side. It is named Holmes.  

During lunch, Radke and Treuter seem to get along swimmingly, and do not mention the time Radke shot Treuter in the stomach a couple of years ago. Accounts of the shooting vary. But asked about it later, Treuter says it was just an accident, and he didn't press charges against his partner.

Over a prime rib sandwich and several drinks that he assumes the reporter will pay for, he spins out his tale. Treuter has already presented his story to the Irving police and the FBI--who have thus far judged it baseless. Part of the story is also in Rose's divorce file. It goes like this:Robert Rose tried to have his ex-wife killed. And Rose was bribing judges.

The way Treuter tells it, he is the man who has been feeding information to the FBI, the big informant who has helped them bag Rose--and will help bring down at least four Dallas judges.

Asked why anyone should believe his charges, Treuter says to check him out, ask around. "Just because I've slept with dogs doesn't mean I can't name the fleas," says the 18-year private eye.

Here is a sampling of opinions about Kenneth Treuter, some from the people Treuter himself suggested could vouch for his credibility:

From a former prosecutor: "If Ken Treuter told me the sky was blue, I wouldn't believe him until I went outside and looked."

From a Dallas investigator: "All I can tell you is he is a liar. Watch him with both eyes."

From Irving police detective Myers: "You can't trust anything Ken Treuter tells you. Treuter is a scumbag, you can print that."

From a federal agent who has dealt with Treuter: "Everything he says makes for nice, juicy cloak-and-dagger (stuff)....but it's kind of like the old Wendy's commercial. When you get down and look beneath just the mere allegations, where's the beef? Where is there one scintilla of proof?"

From Robert Rose: "That lying motherfucker."
From Lisa Rose: "You don't know if anything is true coming from Ken."
Credibility, it seems, is not Treuter's strong suit.

But he may in fact be partly responsible for the downfall of Robert Rose, just as he claims.

After the Irving police ended their investigation into the alleged murder-for-hire scheme, Treuter continued feeding allegations against Robert to Lisa and her family. At the same time, Treuter was apparently buddying up to Robert, offering to help him dig up dirt on his wife.

The divorce continued on its ugly way. Lisa accused Robert of assaulting her. At one point, according to an affidavit in the court file, a babysitter for the couple's son sat by in fright as Robert kicked a couch and cursed because his wife was not there when he came by to talk to her.

Passing off their son for visitation, Lisa says, became a nightmare, and the judge ordered them to arrange handoffs at the Kids Exchange, and not to speak to each other. "We were not to have any conversation with each other because every time we did he'd spit on me. He hit my car. He pushed me. It was getting to the point where it was just escalating," she says. "He came over to my house. He threw wedding pictures of us at my front door. There was broken glass all over the place."

Rose claimed it was his wife who was keeping him from seeing his son, and said she was unrelenting in her efforts to attack him. "She and Ken [Treuter] cooked up a story, it's that simple," Robert says. "There's no telling what they made up. They got together and turned on me."

The couple's divorce was finally granted on 1994, although they continue to disagree over visitation and child support. Lisa, now a dentist, has remarried. Robert has not tried a third time.

But the allegations that surfaced during their divorce did not simply go away with the signing of a decree.

A couple years ago, after Dallas ceased being a major center of savings and loan fraud investigations, there were federal investigators around who had become well-versed in the workings of white-collar crime.

Federal authorities decided to have them poke around the courthouse a little bit, since no one had ever really plumbed the possibility of judicial corruption in Dallas County.

"We cut a lot of agents loose to start looking at other areas of white-collar crime," says one official. "One of the things that really has never been addressed in Dallas County is the corruption. Is there, or isn't there? Generally, Dallas County is not like New Orleans, or major cities. We don't have the problems that Philadelphia or Chicago has. But let's take a look."  

Agents began asking questions about behavior which had been rumored around the courthouse for years--such as whether particular judges might be susceptible to bribes. As word of the feds' visits began to spread, people got very, very nervous.

Since early 1994, rumors that indictments or arrests are imminent have circulated with regularity. But nothing has happened.

The federal probe, an investigative Easter egg hunt, got under way at about the same time as allegations were flying hot and heavy in the Rose divorce case. Soon, the civil divorce proceeding and criminal investigations began to spill into each other, although it is impossible to determine just how or when.

Treuter says he took his allegations against Rose--including charges that Rose bribed several judges--to federal authorities. Lisa Rose says that FBI agents showed up to question her just days after the divorce was final. Relatives of Lisa also went to authorities with some of the information Treuter was providing them.

The Rose divorce file contains breakdowns of the hourly billings from the attorney who initially represented Lisa in the proceeding. The billings show calls to Irving Police Detective Myers, the FBI, and the Dallas County District Attorney's office. At one point in the case, Lisa's attorney attempted to subpoena an assistant Dallas County DA, but the DA's office had the subpoena quashed, citing an ongoing investigation.

The feds were essentially casting a net to see what they could catch, and happened to land Robert Rose. "You know, when you start looking around, you start asking questions, things come to your attention," one federal official says. "You don't just turn your head on them."

After checking out the allegations against Rose, investigators were left with the tax and wire-fraud charges, the source says. "At the end of the day, that's what you've got, and that's what you charge on."

Rose pleaded guilty to lying on his tax returns about how much money he was making, and how much money his company--Robert M. Rose Inc.--was taking in. Rose's "intentional" underreporting of his income, the plea bargain shows, allowed him to avoid "more than $200,000 but less than $350,000," of taxes from 1989 through 1993.

He also pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining airline tickets. He had a friend use someone else's American Airlines frequent flier certificate in April 1993 to buy a ticket for Rose to travel from Las Vegas to Dallas, on to California, and then back to Vegas.

The myriad other charges against Rose--including the murder-for-hire allegation--just didn't hold up, the federal official says.

But private investigator Treuter is not letting the lack of federal prosecution deter him from pitching information on the alleged misdeeds of Rose and several Dallas County judges.

Over lunch, Treuter offers up copies of affidavits signed by a man named Clint Martin. He has already presented the affidavits to the FBI. In them, Martin purports to have watched Rose give cash payoffs to judges on two different occasions, and names the purported recipients of the bribes.

The affidavits abound with red flags, and federal investigators ultimately found the allegations in them groundless. One alleged payoff meeting, for instance, took place at a restaurant, but the only Dallas restaurant with a similar name had not yet opened for business on the date the affidavit is signed.

As of early last month, Clint Martin, the supposed witness to the payoffs who signed the affidavits, was hiding out in a cheap apartment on Fair Oaks Avenue, north of Park Lane.

Standing with one hand always on his door, ready to close it, Martin would not discuss the affidavits, because he has gone into a "deep hole" to avoid Robert Rose. "Drive-by shootings are easy," Martin says mysteriously. On subsequent days, he would not answer his door.

Reed Prospere, Rose's attorney, offers a simple analysis of Treuter's allegations. If Rose had done any of the things Treuter says--especially soliciting murder and bribing judges--why would only Rose be facing the relatively minor offense of tax evasion?

"I don't think really that there is anybody that has taken the time to ask--who has got an IQ over 12 and who has listened--who still believes any of those rumors are true," Prospere says. "If they were true then it would absolutely defy gravity that nothing more has been done by the government. I mean, you would have to draw the necessary conclusion that they are either A) dishonest, B) incompetent, or, three, their give-a-shit factor is a minus 12."

Rose bursts into expletives when asked about Treuter's allegations. Among them is the claim that Rose took a well-known male criminal judge on gambling junkets to Las Vegas. "I don't even know if [the judge] gambles," Rose fumes. "If I took somebody to Vegas, it's going to be somebody who wears a bra and panties, not a fucking judge, and an ugly one at that."  

The government got Rose clean on the tax charges, Prospere says. "He's guilty as hell. Ray Charles could have clearly seen it." But the other allegations--and the rumors that Rose was wearing a wire and informing on others--are just "horseshit," Prospere says.

Preparing to go to prison, Robert Rose is also vowing to get even with his ex-wife, whom he blames for his prosecution. He says he will try again to convince anyone who will listen that she is responsible for his downfall.

"This whole thing is the product of a bad divorce, and Lisa doesn't have the balls to come out and own up to what she did. But she's going to. I mean, [my son's] life is ruined, so what difference does it make if everybody knows that mommy turned on daddy?"

Rose's sentencing is set for September 7 before Judge Barefoot Sanders. Rose says he has seen his pre-sentence report, which recommends how much time he should serve, but he won't say what's in it. Under general federal sentencing guidelines, he is probably looking at two years.

He says he'll serve his time, then, as soon as possible, apply to get his law license back. Under state bar rules, Rose will have to wait five years after finishing his sentence before he may reapply.

Sometime in his mid-50s, Robert Rose plans to be back at the Dallas County Courthouse, once again engaged in the not-so-gentlemanly practice of criminal law.

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