Court filing: Morse got bag of cash amid bribery probe

Robert Snell
The Detroit News
Attorney Mike Morse

Detroit — High-profile lawyer Mike Morse received a duffel bag full of cash in January from his former brother-in-law, who is expected to be indicted alongside others next month in connection with a bribery conspiracy that benefited Morse, according to federal court records.

Morse, a well-known personal-injury lawyer due to his firm’s television commercials and roadside billboards, was notified about the money in a text message that included a photo of the duffel bag and a four-letter curse aimed at Morse's rival, Southfield attorney Geoffrey Fieger, according to the records. In the text message, former brother-in-law Mark Radom wrote: "F--- Feiger."

The duffel bag photo and the text message are the latest developments to emerge from a civil lawsuit notable for its revelations about an ongoing grand jury investigation involving the FBI, Internal Revenue Service and a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C.

A text message sent to attorney Mike Morse in January shows what is described in court records as a duffel bag full of money left at Morse's home in Huntington Woods.

Grand jury subpoenas and emails from the Justice Department chronicle an ongoing criminal investigation into various wrongdoing, including police officers who allegedly received bribes to tip off lawyers and others about accident victims before crash reports were publicly available.

The reports were a key part of a conspiracy designed to help attorneys find clients injured in accidents and help rehab centers enroll patients for lucrative treatments that cheated one insurer out of at least $1 million, according to court records.

Fieger, who represents multiple women who alleged sexual misconduct or unwanted touching by Morse, laughed Thursday after learning about the text message.

"(Morse) is a sociopath," Fieger said. "He just looks normal."

Morse, 51, has done "nothing wrong," the Southfield lawyer's attorney I.W. Winsten told The News. 

The government's criminal case is focused on bribery and theft of government property during a conspiracy involving bribed police officers, according to federal court filings.

Morse and two college buddies factor into the investigation, according to court records. They include former brother-in-law Radom, who lives in Arizona, and Jayson Rosett, a physical therapy center owner from Bloomfield Hills.

Federal investigators are focused on people, including Radom and Rosett, for violating income tax laws and are looking at others for failing to properly declare kickbacks and other income, Rosett's lawyer wrote in a court filing Monday.

The investigation was revealed on the sidelines of a civil lawsuit filed by State Farm Automobile Insurance Co. against 18 defendants, doctors and health facilities, including Elite Health Centers Inc., for alleged fraud and inflated costs involving MRI testing at Metro Detroit locations.

According to court records, Radom coordinated with Morse and Rosett to solicit car accident victims for legal representation and unnecessary medical treatment at clinics owned by Radom and others.

Several police officers, including at least two from the Detroit Police Department, provided the accident reports after receiving bribes, according to court filings.

Money for the bribe payments was laundered through an entity created by Rosett and others, according to court records.

Rosett is trying to delay being deposed under oath in the civil lawsuit because he is the target of two criminal investigations involving some of the same allegations involved in the civil case, according to filings by his defense lawyer, Ben Gonek.

Rosett expects to be charged as early as next month, and is cooperating with the grand jury investigation, his lawyer wrote.

"It is sad that Rosett feels the need to make up stories about Mike Morse to try to reduce the time he serves for the crimes he acknowledges he committed," Morse's lawyer wrote in an email to The News. "Rosett admits he has repeatedly lied to the government and he is continuing to do so."

An indictment is imminent and will include charges against Rosett, Radom and others, Rosett's lawyer wrote in a court filing Monday.

As proof, Gonek included copies of federal grand jury subpoenas seeking financial and other records. The lawyer also attached copies of emails from Justice Department trial attorney Mark McDonald, who works in the tax division in Washington, D.C.

In a June email, McDonald asked about securing Rosett's grand jury testimony about business dealings.

The grand jury was scheduled to meet Aug. 1 at the Flint federal courthouse, according to the email.

On Thursday, Rosett's lawyer filed a photo of the duffel bag and said it was filled with cash. Rosett delivered the money to Morse at Radom's request, according to the court filing.

The new allegations from Rosett are a "clear attempt to reduce his criminal penalties by making allegations against our client," Radom's lawyer Peter Joelson wrote in an email to The News. "Our client denies the allegations."

The duffel bag photo was included in a group text message among Morse, Rosett and Radom in January, according to court records.

The text message sent to Morse does not mention money.

"The body parts are in the garage," Rosett texted Morse, according to the filing. 

The attached photo shows a black duffel bag near a car and an interior garage door. 

The photo and text messages were exchanged the day before Morse was scheduled to be questioned under oath in a civil lawsuit filed by Fieger on behalf of a woman who accused Morse of grabbing her breast when they were posing for a photo at a Farmington Hills restaurant.

Attorney Mike Morse's college friend Mark Radom responded to the photo of the duffel bag with a four-letter epithet about Southfield lawyer Geoffrey Fieger.

Radom texted: "Good luck bro. F--- Feiger."

Morse later responded: "Haha. I was thinking the same thing. See you later! Be prepared to drink!"

While being questioned the next day in the sexual assault lawsuit, Morse was asked if he had received any money besides income from his law firm.

"No," Morse said, according to a deposition transcript.

On Thursday, Fieger accused Morse of committing perjury.

There is no evidence Morse knew about Rosett’s illegal activities, Morse's lawyer said Thursday. 

"In fact, despite the pressure Rosett is under from the government because of his own crimes, Rosett does not even say that he ever looked in the gym bag or that it belonged to Mike Morse," Winsten wrote in an email to The News.

The bag of money is portrayed as an example of benefits flowing to Morse.

The financial benefits included $550,000 to buy property for an addition on Morse's house and $100,000 to an entity that owns Morse’s private jet, according to the civil lawsuit.

"What Rosett’s filing does confirm is that it is State Farm that has been funneling information to the government to try to stop Mike Morse from continuing to successfully represent accident victims against them," Winsten wrote. "State Farm does not like the fact that Morse holds them accountable and gets his clients what they deserve."

A separate federal lawsuit filed by Allstate Insurance Co. against Radom and others describes other benefits allegedly flowing to Morse.

Morse told Rosett to pay for his personal expenses in exchange for referring clients to Rosett's physical therapy clinics, according to the Allstate lawsuit.

Morse also demanded Rosett make campaign donations to unnamed judges, the suit alleges.

"In 2017, Morse asked (Jayson) Rosett and Radom to meet him at Little Caesar’s Arena to buy a suite for $500,000 per year," Allstate lawyer Jacquelyn McEttrick wrote in the lawsuit. "Morse wanted Radom and (Jayson) Rosett to pay for the suite in exchange for referring his clients to their clinics for treatment." 

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