Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
LOS ANGELES � Seymour Lazar, one of four defendants remaining in the criminal case against Milberg Weiss, has struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors, while another defendant, Paul Selzer, is in “serious discussions” to plead guilty. Meanwhile, on Monday, a lawyer for Melvyn Weiss, founding partner of Milberg Weiss who was indicted last month on conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges, has asked a federal judge in Los Angeles to move the government’s criminal case to the Southern District of New York. The lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, a partner at New York-based Brafman & Associates, also sought to sever his client’s case from that against the firm. Weiss pleaded not guilty on Monday morning. Later, at a status conference, Brafman told U.S. District Judge John Walter for the Central District of California that he would seek to move the case to New York because there was “no connection between Mr. Weiss and the California case” other than an alleged conversation that took place in Los Angeles several years ago. He said dozens of government witnesses live in New York, as well. If the case continued in California, about 30 employees at Milberg Weiss would have to travel from New York at an “extraordinary cost to the firm,” Brafman said. Brafman also told Walter that he planned to request his client’s case be severed from that against Milberg Weiss, stating that his client potentially could be held vicariously liable in a case that included charges against Milberg Weiss. Brafman hinted at Weiss’s upcoming defense, noting that the alleged acts in the indictment were done “without his knowledge, without his involvement.” On Friday, Weiss posted a $1 million bond and issued a statement: “I look forward to clearing my name and returning to a practice to which I have devoted my professional life.” Brafman, in his own statement, said Weiss “looks forward to his day in court where he intends to mount a vigorous defense to these charges and is confident he will be acquitted after trial.” Walter proposed a hearing on the severance and change of venue motions for the week of Dec. 10. Meanwhile, Douglas Axel, assistant U.S. attorney, told Walter on Monday that Lazar, a named plaintiff in the Milberg Weiss case who was indicted in 2005, has agreed to a plea deal. The deal has not yet been filed. Lazar was charged with conspiracy, racketeering, money laundering, concealing money laundering, mail fraud, filing false tax returns and obstruction of justice. Axel also said that Lazar’s former lawyer, Paul Selzer, who was indicted in 2005, is in “serious discussions” to plead guilty. Selzer’s lawyer, Dave Wiechert, a lawyer in San Clemente, Calif., confirmed that his client was in plea discussions. Selzer was charged with money laundering and concealing money laundering. Milberg Weiss’s lawyer, William Taylor III, of Zuckerman Spaeder, said the firm expected to file a motion to dismiss the additional charges that were added in last month’s superceding indictment. The case alleges that seven lawyers at the firm, and the firm, conspired to pay kickbacks to named plaintiffs in their class action lawsuits. Milberg Weiss and those seven lawyers made $250 million in attorney fees in lawsuits in which named plaintiffs were paid at least $11.3 million in illegal kickbacks, according to last month’s superceding indictment. Earlier this month, Steven Schulman, a former partner at Milberg Weiss, pleaded guilty to a charge of racketeering. Last month, another former Milberg Weiss partner, William Lerach, announced that he would plead guilty to a federal conspiracy charge. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 29. Another former Milberg Weiss partner, David Bershad, and a named plaintiff, Steve Cooperman, each pleaded guilty several months ago to a federal conspiracy charge. Both have been cooperating with prosecutors. Walter, noting that the “configuration of this case has changed,” reset the trial date from Jan. 8 to Aug. 12, 2008.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.