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Opinion Letter Re: Certain Federal Income Tax Matters


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[Letterhead of Skaddan, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP] July 2, 2003 Newcastle Investment Corp. 1251 Avenue of Americas New York, New York 10020 Re: Certain Federal Income Tax Matters Ladies and Gentlemen: You have requested our opinion concerning certain Federal income tax considerations in connection with the offering (the "Offering") by Newcastle Investment Corp., a Maryland corporation ("Newcastle"), of shares of its Common Stock, $.01 par value per share (the "Common Stock"), pursuant to a Registration Statement on Form S-11 (No. 333-106135) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "Commission"), as amended through the date hereof (the "Registration Statement"). We have acted as tax counsel to Newcastle in connection with the Offering, and we have assisted in the preparation of the Registration Statement and certain other documents. In connection with this opinion, we have examined originals or copies, certified or otherwise identified to our satisfaction, of the Registration Statement and such other documentation and information provided by you as we have deemed necessary or appropriate as a basis for the opinion set forth herein. In addition, you have provided us with, and we are relying upon, a certificate containing certain factual representations and covenants of officers of Newcastle (the "Officers' Certificate") relating to, among other things, the actual and proposed operations of Newcastle and the entities in which it holds, or has held, a direct or indirect interest (collectively, the "Company"). For purposes of our opinion, we have not made an independent investigation of the facts, representations and covenants set forth in the Officers' Certificate, the Registration Statement, or in any other document. In particular, we note that the Company has engaged in, and may engage in, transactions in connection with which we have not provided legal advice, and have not reviewed, and of which we may be unaware. We have, consequently, assumed and relied on your representations that the information presented in the Officers' Certificate, Registration Statement and other documents, or otherwise furnished to us, accurately and completely describes all material facts relevant to our opinion. We have assumed that such statements, representations and covenants are true without regard to any qualification as to knowledge or belief. Our opinion is conditioned on the continuing accuracy and completeness of such statements, representations and covenants. Any material change or inaccuracy in the facts referred to, set forth, or assumed herein or in the Officers' Certificate may affect our conclusions set forth herein. We have, at your request, also relied upon: (i) the opinion of Brown & Wood LLP, dated May 5, 1999, regarding the qualification of Impac Commercial Holdings, Inc. as a real estate investment trust ("REIT"), (ii) the opinion of Thacher Proffitt & Wood, dated July 22, 1999, in connection with issuance of certain notes by Fortress CBO Investments I, Limited and Fortress CBO Investments I Corp., (iii) the opinion of Sidley & Austin, dated November 17, 1999, in connection with the issuance of certain certificates by Fortress Commercial Mortgage Trust 1999-PC1, (iv) the opinion of Sidley & Austin, dated May 27, 1999, in connection with the issuance of certain certificates by Government Lease Trust, (v) the opinion of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, dated December 31, 2001, in connection with the issuance of certain notes by FIC GSA Mezzanine Borrower LLC and FIC Houston LLC, and (vi) the opinion of Thacher Proffitt & Wood, dated July 12, 2002, in connection with the issuance of certain bonds by Impac CMB Trust 1998-C1, each of which opinions is included as an exhibit to the Registration Statement. In our review of certain documents in connection with our opinion as expressed below, we have assumed the legal capacity of all natural persons, the genuineness of all signatures, the authenticity of all documents submitted to us as originals, the conformity to original documents of all documents submitted to us as certified, conformed or photostatic copies, and the authenticity of the originals of such copies. Where documents have been provided to us in draft form, we have assumed that the final executed versions of such documents will not differ materially from such drafts. Our opinion is also based on the correctness of the following assumptions: (i) Newcastle will file an election to be taxed as a real estate investment trust (a "REIT") under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the "Code") with its 2002 tax return, (ii) Newcastle and each of the entities comprising the Company has been and will continue to be operated in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction in which it was formed and in the manner described in the relevant organizational documents, (iii) there will be no changes in the applicable laws of the State of Maryland or of any other state under the laws of which any of the entities comprising the Company have been formed, and (iv) each of the written agreements to which the Company is a party will be implemented, construed and enforced in accordance with its terms. In rendering our opinion, we have considered and relied upon the Code, the regulations promulgated thereunder ("Regulations"), administrative rulings and other interpretations of the Code and the Regulations by the courts and the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS"), all as they exist at the date hereof. It should be noted that the Code, Regulations, judicial decisions, and administrative interpretations are subject to change at any time and, in some circumstances, with retroactive effect. A material change that is made after the date hereof in any of the foregoing bases for our opinion could affect our conclusions set forth herein. In this regard, an opinion of counsel with respect to an issue 2 represents counsel's best judgment as to the outcome on the merits with respect to such issue, is not binding on the IRS or the courts, and is not a guarantee that the IRS will not assert a contrary position with respect to such issue or that a court will not sustain such a position if asserted by the IRS.
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