Having secured a plea agreement this week with one of its biggest targets in the criminal prosecution of the Milberg Weiss law firm, the government is moving forward against another, the Wall Street Journal Reports.
Melvyn Weiss, co-founder of the plaintiffs firm and a pioneer in the field of securities class-action cases, is expected to be indicted today in Los Angeles, according to people familiar with the situation. An indictment would come more than a year after Milberg and two then-name partners were charged with fraud for allegedly paying kickbacks to clients to induce them to serve as lead plaintiffs in lucrative securities class actions and shareholder suits.
The firm released a statement saying saying it understood a new indictment would be issued that would include new charges against it and Mr. Weiss. Mr. Weiss, 72 years old, will stop participating in firm management to focus on his defense, the statement said. He will remain available to counsel clients and attorneys.
It is expected that the indictment will charge Mr. Weiss with helping to steer secret payments to clients who served as lead plaintiffs in class actions; it will also raise a charge new to the case -- that Mr. Weiss allegedly obstructed justice by failing to turn over a document subpoenaed by prosecutors, according to people familiar with the case.
Benjamin Brafman, counsel to Mr. Weiss, said, "I will not respond to substantive questions about an indictment I have not yet seen. If indicted, however, Mr. Weiss intends to vigorously fight the charges and will bring to that fight all of the talent and resources that have made him one of the most extraordinary lawyers of this generation."
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