Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Milberg Weiss Update

So even though it has been over a year since the indictments came down, very little has moved, it would seem, that is visible in the Federal case against Milberg Weiss. At least until recently.

A few days ago, it was announced that David J. Bershad, the former financial head of Milberg Weiss, has agreed to a plea deal where he will forfeit almost $ 8 million and pay a $250,000.00 fine. In return, he will become a government witness in the case against his former employers. This was followed on July 10, by the announcement that former client Steven Cooperman would be pleading guilty to receiving more than $6 million in kickbacks from the firm.

Now today, the government filed its response to the motion to dismiss the indictment filed by defendants Steven Schulman, named plaintiff Seymour M. Lazar and Lazar's former lawyer, Paul T. Selzer. Schulman, Lazar and Selzer argue that the "honest services fraud" alleged in the indictment against them should be dismissed because the government cannot show that the class members of any of the cases were harmed by their arrangement. The amended motion to dismiss contends that under the law, they did not violate it since their agreements with the named plaintiffs did not cause an actual divergence of interests.

The government's position is that harm to the class members is irrelevant, that there simply needs to be a showing that there was a "fraudulent concealment of material facts". Simply put, it seems to say, there just needs to be the secret agreement that is hidden by the alleged conspirators.

As this is going on, William Lerach and Melvyn Weiss have been in negotiations with the prosecution to get some sort of a plea deal. The sticking point seems to be jail time. Neither Lerach or Weiss wants to go to jail. Of course, if they were contributors to Bush's administration, maybe they could get the Scooter Special. Hell, if they were in Nebraska, ... let's not go there.

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