William Lerach made many admissions of guilt and repeatedly said he was sorry for his crimes in the run up to yesterday’s sentencing in federal court for conspiracy to obstruct justice and to making false statements. The judge sentenced him to two years in prison for the crimes committed during a multiyear scheme to make kickbacks to plaintiffs who filed class-action lawsuits.
“I was guilty,” Lerach has said. “I participated in what was being done and was wrong.” And, “I have to stand by the guilty plea and I do stand by it.”
Yet comments from an interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Peter Lattman suggests his mea culpas are tactical, and the sincerity of his admissions is to be doubted.
I knew that if the Bush Justice Department and their allies in the ultra tort reform movement could find something about us to use against us, to investigate us or accuse of us, they would. We were powerful, high-profile, combative individuals, and people who were our enemies who had power got in a position to use our own mistakes against us and they did so with the same ruthlessness with which we prosecuted our cases. And that’s the way it is in the big leagues.
Shorter Lerach: “I’m guilty, but it’s their fault.”
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