William Lerach recently retired after a career in which he became one of the country’s most successful securities attorneys, with firm awards of more than $1 billion against various corporations. His name was dropped last month from the California-based firm he founded when he split from a former East Coast partner, Melvyn Weiss. Lerach has been repeatedly linked in media reports about the federal prosecution of Milberg Weiss as one of the key unnamed witnesses, most recently as having rejected a plea bargain.
Good anticipation, Examiner! Here’s the news of the day.
Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) — William Lerach, who negotiated more than $7 billion in settlements for Enron Corp. investors, will become the second lawyer to plead guilty to conspiracy over kickbacks paid in securities cases filed by the Milberg Weiss law firm, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Lerach, 61, who left New York-based Milberg Weiss in 2004, agreed to plead guilty to a single conspiracy count and accept a sentence of 12 months to 24 months, the people said. He’s expected to enter a binding plea today in federal court in Los Angeles, the people said.
And the transgression, that which berogued Lerach?
Prosecutors have been investigating since 1999 whether Milberg Weiss lawyers, who recovered more than $45 billion for investors in securities-fraud cases, paid kickbacks to some clients to serve as plaintiffs.
Lerach, like so many of his peers, is a generous campaign contributor. We’ll let others delve deeper into his contributions, which were — we’ll assert — intended to help create a political climate which would continue to allow class-action excesses.
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