Criminal Justice

Lerach to Plead Guilty

Securities class action lawyer William Lerach has reportedly agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy in a criminal case that contends his former law firm, Milberg Weiss, paid kickbacks to lead plaintiffs.

Lerach will ask for a sentence of one year and prosecutors will ask for two years, the Recorder reports. He will also agree to pay an $8 million fine.

The deal will release from investigation the firm where Lerach most recently worked, Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins. Lerach helped found the firm after leaving Milberg Weiss, which has been accused in an indictment of paying $11.3 million in client kickbacks. Lerach announced on Aug. 29 that is retiring.

Lerach will not cooperate with prosecutors as part of the plea deal, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports.

Former Milberg Weiss partner David Bershad has pleaded guilty and is cooperating in the probe. Another indicted Milberg partner, Steven Schulman, is in plea negotiations.

Sources told the Recorder that Milberg Weiss founding partner Melvyn Weiss may be indicted too.

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