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June 1, 2008

Will Weiss pay a high sentencing price on Monday?

As detailed in recent items from Reuters and  from the National Law Journal, famed plaintiffs lawyer Mel Weiss is scheduled to be sentenced Monday in Los Angeles.  Here is a preview from the Reuters piece:

Class-action legend Melvyn Weiss can expect a rough ride on Monday when he is sentenced by a judge who handed down the maximum penalty to Weiss's former partner for his role in a kickbacks scheme involving their former law firm.

The 72-year-old Weiss, who built a multibillion-dollar shareholder litigation empire around a law firm now known as Milberg LLP, pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge in March.  He has asked U.S. District Judge John Walter to sentence him to no more than two years in prison, citing his age and his contributions to shareholder litigation.

Prosecutors recommended that Weiss serve 33 months in prison, according to sentencing memos filed on May 23.  A plea agreement calls for Weiss to serve 18 months to 33 months in prison and pay $10 million in fines and forfeited gains.

In February, Walter sentenced Weiss's protege and former partner, William Lerach, to the maximum prison sentence allowed under his plea agreement and criticized prosecutors for proposing a sentence that he considered too lenient.

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog has had lots of coverage of pre-sentencing filings in the Weiss case, as detailed in this interesting set of posts:

June 1, 2008 at 10:39 PM | Permalink


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Weiss built his empire by using the coercive power of the state (i.e., courts). Now it turns out he gamed the system to procure coercive judgments against others. He should be punished very very harshly.

Posted by: federalist | Jun 2, 2008 9:48:29 AM

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