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Renowned Federal Prosecutor Gene Rossi Joins Carlton Fields

White Collar Crime & Government Investigations   |   December 14, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Carlton Fields is pleased to announce that Eugene (Gene) Rossi, a 27-year veteran of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), has joined the firm’s Washington D.C. office. The nationally recognized former federal prosecutor brings a wealth of experience and prestige to Carlton Fields’ already formidable White Collar and Government Investigation Practice.

In 1983 following law school, Mr. Rossi worked as a Washington Representative for Connecticut Governor Bill O’Neill. In 1989, he began his legal career with the DOJ, serving for 12 years as a senior trial attorney of the Department’s Tax Division, including four years on an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). In 2001, Mr. Rossi became an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia (the “Rocket Docket”), serving as Deputy Chief of the Narcotics Unit and then chief of the Specials Unit, where he trained more than 1,000 new prosecutors. During his prolific DOJ career, Mr. Rossi had more than 110 criminal and civil trials (90 jury) in U.S. Courts, including a record 65 felony jury trials in the Rocket Docket.

“Gene is an excellent addition to our firm,” said Adam Schwartz, chair of the firm’s White Collar and Government Investigations practice. “His deep experience in government investigations and white collar matters further strengthens our already solid group of former prosecutors and extends our platform into the nation’s capital.”

In 2004 and 2007, as opioid addiction worsened into a national crisis, Mr. Rossi prosecuted two complex criminal trials involving a nationally renowned chronic pain doctor who was fraudulently distributing hundreds of thousands of Oxycodone pills. The ‘Cotton Candy’ investigation and prosecution was the largest investigation of prescription pill trafficking in U.S. history.

His other notable cases included a major case against a Chicago alderman, the trial of a prolific murderer, and the prosecution of the Commanding General of the 54-nation African Union, who pleaded guilty to charges of false statements and smuggling cash into the United States that he had received illegally when he was president of Guinea.

“The best defense attorneys have a keen understanding of the prosecutor’s strategy, from investigation through trial,” said Roland Goss, managing shareholder of the firm’s Washington D.C. office. “With extensive experience in the trenches and having trained so many fellow prosecutors, Gene has great insight into how prosecutors prepare and present cases, which can make the difference between winning and losing in his new role in private practice.”

Mr. Goss added, “The addition of Gene extends the firm’s comprehensive white collar experience and reach into Washington, D.C., a key market for our firm and clients. We are excited he is with us.”

Mr. Rossi’s achievements in the courtroom have earned him dozens of commendations, including the FBI Washington Field Office’s Career Achievement Award in 2016 — the only time the award has ever been presented to a prosecutor. He is also the recipient of the 2005 Justice Department’s Director’s Award and the 2009 DEA Administrator’s Award for his prosecution of the Operation Cotton Candy cases.

“In my 33 years as a public servant after law school, I never practiced at a private law firm, so this was a big decision for me,” said Mr. Rossi. “I visited a number of different firms, but when I met with Carlton Fields, I knew where I belonged. There is such a great esprit de corps and level of collegiality here. I believe in the firm’s mission. And I’m honored to be a part of the Carlton Fields family.”

A dedicated community advocate, Mr. Rossi was on the board of directors of D.C. Law Students In Court, a five-school consortium that provides legal aid to tenants and indigent criminal defendants. Mr. Rossi also serves on the board of Friends of Guest House, an Alexandria, Va.-based women’s reentry program. In 2017, Mr. Rossi ran for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. He also founded Alexandria’s “Hoop Madness Club,” extending his life-long passion for basketball. Last, he is an adjunct professor of constitutional law at George Mason University, as well as an adjunct instructor of trial advocacy at Harvard Law School.

Mr. Rossi received his J.D. from the American University Law School, his LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center, and his B.A. from Fairfield University.

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