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Federal prosecutors say Aaron Rossi broke document-sharing rules and did methamphetamine while free on bond

Aaron Rossi exits the federal courthouse in Peoria following a previous court appearance.
Hannah Alani
Aaron Rossi exits the federal courthouse in Peoria following a previous court appearance.

Former Reditus Labs CEO Aaron Rossi faces new legal jeopardy Thursday as he returns to federal court, with prosecutors alleging he broke the terms of his bond by using methamphetamine and violated an order by using confidential documents from his criminal case in a civil lawsuit.

Rossi is due in federal court in Peoria for a hearing at 11:30 a.m. Thursday. He was charged with tax and mail fraud last year. He’s pleaded not guilty to those federal charges, which are separate from a litany of civil litigation facing Rossi and Reditus, which has gone out of business.

In a court filing Wednesday, federal prosecutors want Rossi to explain how documents turned over to his criminal defense made their way to Rossi’s attorneys in the civil cases and eventually into exhibits filed in the civil cases. That appears to have violated “at least five of the six clauses” of a protective order in the federal criminal case prohibiting such document sharing.

“The government views the violation of the protective order as a serious issue that has multiple negative ramifications,” prosecutors wrote in Wednesday’s filing. “This disclosure attempts—even if inadvertently—to turn the power of federal law enforcement and the federal grand jury into a tool of civil litigation.”

Their concern is timely, in part, because the Tazewell County judge overseeing the civil cases, Stephen Kouri, ruled this week that more documents would be unsealed. That includes essentially all filings that did not originate from Rossi’s side of the dispute. One of the documents that will remain under seal is a motion to stay, or pause, the civil case filed last year; a related document inadvertently unsealed in December revealed an ongoing federal investigation into Reditus’ billing and contracting practices.

WCBU and WGLT tried to obtain those newly unsealed records on Wednesday but were told by the circuit clerk’s office that they had not been released yet. It’s unclear why.

Meanwhile, Rossi is also accused of violating the terms of his pretrial release, which has allowed him to remain free while awaiting the federal criminal charges.

New bond violation alleged

Federal prosecutors said they can prove convincingly, based on lab test results, that Rossi “possessed and ingested” methamphetamine on five dates between April and July 2022.

It’s unclear what the violation will mean for Rossi’s freedom. Rossi was already jailed once before, for allegedly violating terms of his bond, after testing positive for marijuana last fall.

Pekin-based Reditus made hundreds of millions of dollars from state contracts for COVID testing and brought hundreds of jobs to Pekin. Reditus had testing contracts with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Rossi’s former business partners have accused him of looting the company to fund his own lavish lifestyle. One of his former spokespeople said there was a “coordinated effort underway to destroy (Rossi’s) reputation” centered on “baseless claims.”

Contact Ryan at rmdenha@ilstu.edu or (309) 438-5426.