LINCOLN (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 that Paul Rosberg won't be sentenced to more than 18 months in prison.
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 said a man and his brother reported that Rosberg asked whether they would kill two witnesses against him in the meat inspection case. The man said Rosberg told them that 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 against Rosberg's wife, Kelly Rosberg.
Paul Rosberg also agreed to drop lawsuits against three witnesses and to pay more than $8,400 to cover the legal and other expenses that the three have spent defending themselves from Rosberg's lawsuits.
According to court records, the Rosbergs' company, Nebraska's Finest Meats, sold 2,600 pounds of ground beef labeled U.S. Department of Agriculture inspected to the Omaha Public Schools in fall 2011. Paul Rosberg told his workers to mix meat that hadn't been inspected with meat that had been, and to deliver it to the school district in 10-pound rolls.
In another court case involving the Rosbergs' operations, a state judge dismissed a libel lawsuit filed by Paul Rosberg against an inspector of organic food. The ruling came in August.
Evrett Lunquist of Raymond, Neb., had performed inspections at Rosberg's farm from 2003 until 2007, and he reported Rosberg to the USDA on suspicion of fraud. Rosberg said in his lawsuit that Lunquist misrepresented facts about the operation to the USDA.
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