Arrest warrant issued under seal for Kristin Rossum's Australian lover

District attorney kept the conspiracy charge under wraps for years

Authorities have filed a felony conspiracy complaint and issued an arrest warrant under seal against Michael Robertson, former boss and lover of convicted murderer Kristin Rossum. Robertson has continued to live free and work as a forensic toxicology consultant in Australia since the murder of Rossum’s husband, Gregory de Villers, in 2000. Robertson, now 43, could be arrested and held on $100,000 bail if he ever returns to the United States.

In a case that continues to draw national attention, Rossum, a former toxicologist for the county Medical Examiner’s Office, was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in 2003 for stealing drugs from her lab, using them to poison de Villers, then staging a suicide scene in their University City apartment by sprinkling red rose petals over his body. The cause of death, ruled as acute fentanyl intoxication, has been challenged by Rossum’s appellate attorneys as recently as two weeks ago.

Fentanyl is a fast-acting narcotic painkiller 100 times stronger than morphine.

The complaint against Robertson, which has been kept on the QT since it was filed on November 3, 2006, alleges “conspiracy to commit an act injurious to the public” by Robertson, and lists 77 “overt acts.” If he were found guilty, he could face up to three years in county jail or state prison.

Before this complaint was filed, prosecutors labeled Robertson as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in de Villers’ murder case, and the investigation into Robertson’s potential involvement remains open today. Under the law, charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder are treated much the same.

“I assume that’s why they did it. Just to keep a file open in case anything ever comes up in the future,” said Chuck Goldberg, Robertson’s local attorney. “And I’m confident nothing ever will come up.”

Goldberg said neither he nor his client had ever been notified of the complaint. “I negotiated with the DA’s office and they knew I represented him,” he said.

Robertson declined comment, but he has previously insisted that he wasn’t involved in the murder.

The DA’s office wouldn’t comment on why it filed but never disclosed the complaint, even when asked about the Robertson investigation in particular.

“Because this is a pending case, we are unable to discuss it,” spokesman Steve Walker said.

Related: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2009/mar/04/city-light-1/" rel="nofollow">http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...


We can "leak" the fact that there is a warrant, but "we are unable to discuss it," said their "SPOKESMAN"? AAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH! Is it just me?

FatCat, fyi, this story wasn't the result of a leak from the DA's office. I just pulled the complaint myself and then called the spokesman for a comment. But I was hoping they would have told me about it before given that I've been covering the case since Rossum was arrested in 2001 and have asked for updates on the Robertson investigation before.

That whole thing screamed for him to be charged with murder. She didn't come up with that idea all on her own. That designation of him as "an unindicted co-conspirator" made little sense. Either the DA thought he had conspired with her to kill the hubby, or he was innocent. Why the wishy-washy designation? Her family doesn't want to admit that she did the foul deed, and keeps financing appeals. I take it that the charge of conspiracy is one that would allow his arrest if he ever came into an area under US jurisdiction, and that they could then hold him while dusting off the murder case and perhaps proceeding to charge him with something far more serious. A charge that would result in a mere three years in prison hardly seems worth the trouble. So, is there an extradition treaty between the US and Australia? If so, why has it not been used?

There is an extradition treaty between the U.S. and Australia.

response to visduh most countries that sign reciprocal extradition treaties specify which crimes qualify for extradition and in some cases also consider the punishment. For example, Canada will not agree to extradition unless given an assurance that the death penalty would not be imposed. In this particular case, the complaint alleges “conspiracy to commit an act injurious to the public”. Perhaps that is not a sufficient charge under the extradition policy with Au. The State Dept. website used to have a page if you want to know for sure.

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