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Man accused of seeking hit on witnesses in federal meat trial
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Man accused of seeking hit on witnesses in federal meat trial

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In what sounds a bit like a made-for-TV film plot, a Randolph man facing federal trial next month now stands accused of trying to hire someone to kill two key witnesses against him.

The indictment in U.S. District Court in Omaha, unsealed Friday, came as the latest twist in a series of court cases involving Paul Rosberg.

What started with a six-count indictment a year ago for allegedly selling misbranded or non-inspected meat and meat products to Omaha Public Schools led to a spate of civil lawsuits in which Rosberg accused whistleblowers and meat inspectors of making false statements against him.

Then on Sept. 1, a month out from his federal trial on the allegations he violated the Federal Meat Inspection Act, Rosberg allegedly asked a man and his brother if they would kill two government witnesses, according to an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint.

In it, Brett Dickerson, a special agent with the United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, said the man told the Dixon County Sheriff's Department about the encounter with Rosberg, for whom he'd worked six weeks.

He said Rosberg told them about a man and a woman who were to be witnesses for the government at his trial Oct. 2, and said he would "make it worth their while" if they were to do this for him.

At a Sept. 4 hearing in Omaha, Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf granted a protection order, sought by the government against Rosberg, to keep him from pursuing his lawsuits or filing more lawsuits on witnesses in the case identified by the government.

At the hearing, Rosberg said it would be difficult to pursue the lawsuits if the government put him in prison for 28 years.

Two days later, Dickerson said, Rosberg met with the brothers a second time and asked again.

When they declined, Rosberg asked if they knew of anyone who would, the informant told Dickerson.

And, he told Dickerson, Rosberg said he was going to get liens on their properties so if anything happened to them he would get their property.

Dickerson said Cedar County court records confirmed Rosberg had taken out three liens on the property owned by one of the witnesses.

On Wednesday, Rosberg was charged with solicitation to commit a crime of violence.

It was unclear Friday afternoon if the new indictment would lead to a delay in Rosberg's trial in two weeks.

He and his wife, Kelly Rosberg, were indicted in September 2012 after information developed by USDA investigators led to the issuance of a search warrant for their company, Nebraska's Finest Meats, which led to the confiscation of records, labels, equipment and other evidence in the case.

Nebraska's Finest Meats operated in Randolph, but its operations have been suspended.

Omaha FBI Public Affairs Specialist Sandy Breault said she couldn't comment on the indictment because it involved an ongoing investigation.

Calls to Rosberg's newly appointed attorney and to the Dixon County Sheriff's Office on Friday afternoon were unsuccessful.

Reach Lori Pilger at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com or follow her on Twitter at LJSpilger.

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Public safety reporter

Lori Pilger is a Norfolk native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been a public safety reporter for the Journal Star since 2005.

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