• Gene Rossi
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Gene Rossi

Gene Rossi



With nearly three decades of criminal and civil litigation experience at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Gene Rossi leverages the skills he honed as a federal prosecutor to concentrate on matters related to white collar criminal defense and government investigations.

During his DOJ career, Gene had more than 110 federal trials (including an unprecedented 90 jury trials) in U.S. district and bankruptcy courts. From 1989-2001, he worked in the Tax Division, trying complex civil and criminal matters and serving on an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

In 2001, he became an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, which is known as the “Rocket Docket.” There, he led and supervised a vast array of significant investigations involving the opioid crisis, OCDETF, murder, health care, tax, immigration, public corruption, terrorism, and the environment. Gene also served as deputy chief of the Narcotics Unit, and later as chief of the Specials Unit, where he trained more than 1,000 new prosecutors in the Rocket Docket and at the DOJ’s National Advocacy Center. In the Eastern District of Virginia alone, he had a record 65 felony jury trials. Because of his many high-profile trials, the Alexandria Division of the Eastern District of Virginia set aside a special area in his honor called the “Gene Rossi War Room.”

One of his most notable matters was the OCDETF Operation “Cotton Candy,” the largest opioid investigation in DOJ history, with more than 200 convictions of doctors, pharmacists, nurses, patients, and dealers. As part of Cotton Candy, Gene had numerous trials in the Eastern District of Virginia, including two lengthy jury trials against a prominent pain management doctor (William Hurwitz), who prescribed 1,200 oxycodone pills daily to one patient alone. Gene's two Dr. Hurwitz trials and other Cotton Candy cases served as the basis for a 2016 Hollywood documentary (“Dr. Feelgood”).

Gene’s other prominent DOJ matters included a major civil tax trial against a Chicago alderman, the OCDETF trial of a violent murderer (responsible for more than 30 deaths), and the prosecution of General Sekouba Konate 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 when he was president of Guinea.

Gene’s courtroom achievements have earned him numerous commendations, including the FBI Washington Field Office’s Career Achievement Award in 2016 — the first (if not only) time the award has ever been presented to a prosecutor. He also received the following DOJ honors: a Tax Division Outstanding Attorney Award in 1993; a Director’s Award in 2005; and a DEA Administrator’s Award for his lead role in Operation Cotton Candy.

Gene’s passion for teaching extends beyond his training of more than the 1,000 DOJ prosecutors. He has taught legal writing and ethics at American University Law School, constitutional law and criminal procedure at George Mason University, and trial advocacy at Harvard and University of Virginia law schools.

He is a frequent legal commentator and trial analyst. He is often quoted in articles and has appeared on many cable and radio shows, including CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ABC News, CBS News, Law & Crime Network, Court TV, Hill TV, and several others. Moreover, he has a regular radio program (“The Gene Rossi Show”) in the Richmond, Virginia, area on WJFN 100.5 FM (

In 2017, Gene ran for lieutenant governor of Virginia. A longtime youth basketball coach, Gene was a Connecticut all-state basketball player (1,300 career points, including 41 points in one high school game).

A brief sample of the scope of Gene’s representation of defendants, targets, and witnesses in high-profile criminal and civil matters includes: Robert Mueller’s Paul Manafort trial; the Southern District of New York's Stormy Daniels election fraud investigation involving Michael Cohen and the president; the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol investigation by the DOJ; federal RICO, organized crime, drug trafficking, bank and wire fraud, and national security cases in the Eastern District of Virginia, the Western District of Virginia, the Southern District of New York, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, and elsewhere; various state cases involving a multitude of felony crimes; and obtaining a favorable state jury verdict in defending against wrongful termination and shareholder claims.

Professional & Community Involvement

  • American Bar Association

Speaking Engagements

  • "Ethics: Plea Bargaining and Ethical Considerations for Prosecutors and Defense Attorneys," Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (November 12, 2020)


  • Georgetown University Law Center (LL.M., 1994)
  • American University Washington College of Law (J.D., 1982)
  • Fairfield University (B.A., cum laude, 1978)
Bar Admissions
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
Court Admissions
  • Connecticut Supreme Court
  • Virginia Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia


Gene appeared on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" in August 2018. Gene was interviewed on the Paul Manafort tax trial in the Eastern District of Virginia with Judge Ellis presiding. Gene provided commentary as a "legal analyst" on the show, discussing the trial evidence and elements of the alleged crimes, as well as his past experiences with Judge Ellis.


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