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LOS ANGELES — Steven Schulman, the former Milberg Weiss partner who was indicted last year on federal criminal charges, filed more court documents on Monday in defense of his motions to dismiss the bulk of the government’s case against him. Federal prosecutors have charged Schulman, Milberg Weiss and another former partner, David Bershad, with obtaining more than $200 million in attorney fees by paying kickbacks to named plaintiffs. On July 9, Bershad agreed to forfeit $7.75 million, pay a $250,000 fine and plead guilty to a charge that he conspired to conceal illegal payments to plaintiffs in class action suits. Schulman, named plaintiff Seymour M. Lazar and Lazar’s former attorney, Paul T. Selzer, have filed motions to dismiss the charges against them. Most of their arguments state that they did not commit “honest services fraud” against absent class members by paying fees to named plaintiffs in the class action cases mentioned in the indictment. In response, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, which brought the case, filed opposition papers earlier this month stating that “honest services fraud” does not require the government to prove class members were economically harmed. On Monday, Schulman responded that “this is a case about lies to courts,” not class members. “Without any direct language in the indictment to support it, the government argues that, due to the ‘kickback’ payments to named plaintiffs, Milberg Weiss’ attorneys’ fees were necessarily inflated and the absent class members had a proprietary interest in the excess portion of the fees.” He said that such inflated fees could not have existed because judges approved and scrutinized the settlement amounts. In additional motions, Schulman, citing recent plea deals with named plaintiff Steve Cooperman and Bershad, argued that he is not a party to most of the transactions or cases at issue in the indictment. He also continued to assert demands to remove “inflammatory and prejudicial language” from the indictment, such as the use of the word “kickback.” Earlier this month, Melvyn Weiss, senior and founding partner of Milberg Weiss, and William Lerach, a former partner at the firm, reportedly rejected a plea deal, although neither has been charged. Lerach’s firm has acknowledged that he plans to retire this year. Lawyers for Milberg Weiss reportedly have been in talks with prosecutors over a plea deal.

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