Since his hubris knows no bounds.
William Lerach is the former Milberg-Weiss attorney who practically invented class-action abuses, draining billions from productive economic uses — and shareholders, don’t forget the shareholders — but ginning up lawsuits against companies. Turns out many of the lawsuits were the result of years of conspiracies involving the illegal solicitation and payoffs of plaintiffs who searched for a cause of action.
So Lerach’s going to prison, and as is usual, his supporters have written to the court asking for leniency because he’s a kind and noble fellow. The Examiner reports on the details today, laying into Lerach for demanding that his legal brief and supporting documents, including the letters, be sealed. In an editorial, “Treat Lerach as he treated others,” the Examiner marvels at the hypocrisy.
Lerach is the man who has banked tens of millions of dollars through securities class-action lawsuits against corporations and executives, often filed without any evidence of wrongdoing and based merely on what he called his own internal “X-ray vision.” His wondrous vision supposedly allowed him to find corporate wrongdoing where nobody else saw anything but bad market conditions. Then, using variations of the argument that no internal, private corporate record is ever off limits to the crusading Lerach, he would “always find a document to incriminate them.” (Never mind, say multiple detractors, that the “incrimination” often amounted to portraying the documents wildly out of context.) Yet now we see that this same lawyer, who regularly insisted on the right to what amounts to fishing expeditions without a single shred of proof, insisting that documents concerning his own felony conviction should be secret.
If ever a subject called for Congressional hearings, it’s the coordinated assault on the legal underpinnings of our free-market system by the plaintiff’s bar. Unfortunately, millions of dollars of campaign contributions over the years seems to have bought protection from such legitimate oversight.
But the courts maintain their independence. Lerach was convicted on felony charges for corrupting the legal system, fabricating and manipulating attacks against companies owned by millions of shareholders. The public has a right to know the nature and extent of that corruption.
UPDATE (9:25 a.m.) Ted Frank marvels, as well, at the Point of Law blog, a post that includes several useful links.
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