So the decks are cleared, mostly. Federal prosecutors have reached an agreement with Milberg LLC, the New York-based law firm that served as the base of operations for Mel Weiss, Bill Lerach and the others conspirators who dreamed up lucrative class-action lawsuits against companies. From AP:
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Milberg law firm will pay $75 million to settle a federal kickback case involving class-action lawsuits against some of the nation’s biggest corporations.
The New York firm said in a prepared statement Monday the deal called for the government to dismiss all charges against it.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, which is handling the case, declined immediate comment.
The firm was accused of making $250 million over two decades by filing legal actions on behalf of professional plaintiffs who received $11.3 million in kickbacks.
Milberg’s statement is available here.
Sanford Dumain, a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, stated: “We are pleased that the government specifically recognizes that none of the lawyers now at the firm was involved in any of the misconduct, and that in fact our former partners who were prosecuted were deliberately concealing their illegal activities from us. This favorable outcome now allows us to put a painful chapter behind us so that we can resume building one of the best known plaintiffs firms in the country.”
“This settlement enables us to move forward with our continuing representation of investors and consumers in class actions and other important lawsuits, and allows us to capitalize on the tremendous talents of the lawyers at the firm,” he continued.
Yes, the lawsuits continue, taking money out of the pockets of one group of shareholders and putting it in the pockets of others, with the attorneys taking their cut off the top. But that’s all legal, as far as it goes…
With Weiss sentenced and Lerach in prison, only a few of the lesser players remain to be sentenced. In short, guilt has been determined and the possibility of future incriminations rendered unlikely.
So freed from those encumbrances, now is the appropriate time for the Senate and House Judiciary Committees to undertake full-scale oversight hearings into the predations of the plaintiff’s bar, its abuse of the legal process and powerful political manipulations. Right?
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