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Political analysts say the testimony is unusual because it is rare that episodes of favor-trading are recounted in such explicit detail.

“There are pretty strong laws on the books, at least at the federal level, when you are making promises in exchange for money. Even at the federal level, to be caught up in violating that law you have to be very stupid,” said Meredith McGehee, policy director of the Campaign Legal Center.

“This notion that [Rothstein] is describing that he had such leverage and influence with Crist, and that there was some kind of agreement for contributions is somewhat troubling,” Ms. McGehee said.

Some ethics analysts say Rothstein’s statements shine new light on the controversy behind politicized judicial appointments.

“I think it all gets to a basic problem of how judges get their jobs,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Ms. Sloan said judges are nominated at the federal and state levels for a plethora of political reasons that don’t necessarily have anything to do with their legal abilities.

Local Florida news accounts noted that Rothstein gave his testimony in the hopes of getting a reduction on his sentence.

“I’m hoping when they measure all of my good conduct they’ll give me a cut,” he said.