Bizarre editorial judgment on display in Sunday’s Washington Post, the Outlook section. Editors gave superlawyer William Lerach, the father of class-action excesses, an opportunity to explain away his pleading guilty to criminal conspiracy. It’s as merely a reflection of his overzealousness in pursuit of a worthy cause, justice against big-business malefactors, Lerach argues. Why, he implies, how much more awful are the huge amounts gained by sullied corporate executives.
From Lerach’s “Loser CEOs, Raking It In“:
I’m on my way to prison because, in my zeal to stand up against this kind of corporate greed over the years, I stepped over the line. It turns out that the legal system is a lot tougher on shareholder lawyers than it appears to be on Wall Street executives.
Lerach organized a conspiracy to pay off plaintiffs in return for filing class-action lawsuits, a multiyear crime that brought his lawfirm, Milberg Weiss, and Lerach millions upon millions of dollars and degraded the civil justice system. And he’s making excuses?
The Post’s Howard Kurtz is puzzled. In an online discussion Monday, Kurtz writes:
Howard Kurtz: In the piece, Lerach explained (rather briefly) that he had pleaded guilty, been fined $8 million and was headed off to prison for at least a year. But I still had problems with the piece. How does a guy who’s a newly confessed crook have the standing to start lecturing us about all the problems with CEOs? He may or may not be right, but it was odd to publish a piece by a plaintiff’s lawyer that allowed him to so briefly brush aside his criminal conviction.
“Odd” barely says it.
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