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Brae Canlen 8:30 a.m., April 20
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.