A Guilty Plea and $10 Million Fine for ‘Legal Giant’

By March 20, 2008Briefly Legal

An admission and then emissions from the attorney for Melvyn Weiss:

NEW YORK, March 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ –Benjamin Brafman today announced that he has reached an agreement with prosecutors that would have Mr. Weiss plead guilty and thus avoid a trial of the indictment that is now scheduled for August 2008.

According to Brafman, Mr. Weiss will plead guilty to his limited participation in a criminal Conspiracy relating to allegations that he and other former Milberg Weiss attorneys agreed to share part of the firm’s fees with certain individuals who were Plaintiffs in several of the thousands of Class Action lawsuits filed by the firm during its 40 year history. The Plea Agreement provides that Mr. Weiss may receive a sentence of from 18-33 months imprisonment, with the Court having the discretion to substitute a period of home confinement and/or community confinement for up to half of any prison sentence, should the Court conclude that a prison sentence is appropriate. Mr. Weiss has also agreed to pay a total of $10
million dollars in fines and forfeiture penalties.

According to Mr. Brafman, “It is important for the public and legal community to note that despite his plea, Mr. Weiss provided access to the Courts for millions of victims of corporate wrongdoing. Through a lifetime of legal work and public service, he has participated in important pro-bono, humanitarian and philanthropic efforts that have improved the quality of life for millions of citizens throughout the world. Accordingly, despite his participation in the criminal conduct he has today acknowledged, I am nevertheless hopeful and confident that the Court will recognize Mel Weiss to be one of the true legal giants of his generation and a consummate humanitarian whose contributions to the Bar and the world community have been nothing short of spectacular.”

A prince among men! A giant who walks among mortals! A spectacular humanitarian around whom constellations circle!

A corrupter of the legal system.

UPDATE (12:50 p.m.) The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog also has the statement of Sanford Dumain, Member of Milberg LLP Executive Committee. Much better stated.

It is with deep disappointment that we have learned that Melvyn I. Weiss has engaged in misconduct and has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy charges in the Central District of California. Mr. Weiss is resigning from the Firm, which will change its name to Milberg LLP.

Having previously believed former leaders’ assurances of their innocence, the Firm is now seeking to find a fair and appropriate resolution of remaining issues so that we can continue our work on behalf of injured investors and consumers.

So Weiss was lying to his partners all the while?

Dumain also apologizes to all judges, lawyers, clients and class members.

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