LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A northeast Nebraska man accused of trying to have witnesses against him killed and selling uninspected meat to Omaha schools has made a plea deal with federal prosecutors.
The deal ensures Paul Rosberg won't be sentenced to more than 18 months in prison, the Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/17nDXaS) said.
When the 62-year-old Rosberg was asked last week by U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf why he was entering the plea, Rosberg replied: "I'm guilty. Another reason is, I'd like to get this business over with."
Last month federal prosecutors filed a complaint accusing Rosberg of soliciting a crime of violence and obstructing justice. A court document says a man and his brother reported that Rosberg asked whether they would kill two witnesses against him in the meat case. A U.S. Department of Agriculture special agent said the man had worked for Rosberg for about six weeks at the time. The man said Rosberg told them he would "make it worth their while" if they would take care of the two witnesses.
But in exchange for Rosberg's guilty plea to selling misbranded meat, prosecutors agreed to drop the other charges and reduce a charge they'd filed against Rosberg's wife, Kelly Rosberg.
Paul Rosberg also agreed to dismiss lawsuits he's filed against three witnesses and pay more than $8,400 to cover the legal and other expenses the three had spent defending themselves from Rosberg's lawsuits.
A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Deborah Gilg, Jan Sharp, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that prosecutors "reviewed the facts in the case and talked to the (potential) victims, and all sides wanted to settle this case."
"It was perceived to be a fair settlement for all sides," Sharp said.
Court records say the Rosbergs' company, Nebraska's Finest Meats, in fall 2011 sold 2,600 pounds of ground beef labeled USDA inspected to Omaha Public Schools. The records say Paul Rosberg told his workers to mixmeat that hadn't been inspected with meat that had been checked and deliver it to the school district in 10-pound rolls.
In another court case involving the Rosbergs' operations, in August a state judge dismissed a libel lawsuit Paul Rosberg had filed against an inspector of organic food.
Evrett Lunquist, of Raymond, had performed inspections at Rosberg's farm from 2003 until 2007 and reported Rosberg for suspected fraud to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Rosberg said in his lawsuit that Lunquist misrepresented facts about the operation to the USDA.
Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com