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LOS ANGELES �— Securities plaintiff’s lawyer William S. Lerach, who pleaded guilty last year as part of the federal government’s criminal case against Milberg Weiss, filed court papers on Wednesday in support of a pre-sentencing report that recommended he serve a 15-month prison term. Lerach, a former partner at Milberg Weiss, pleaded guilty as part of an investigation alleging that the firm and several of its partners generated more than $250 million in attorney fees by paying secret and illegal payments to name plaintiffs in more than 150 class action and shareholder lawsuits. As part of his plea deal, Lerach agreed to serve one to two years in prison, plus forfeit $7.75 million and pay a $250,000 fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 11. In papers filed last week, prosecutors contested the pre-sentencing report, arguing that Lerach should serve a 24-month term based on 2007 sentencing guidelines because “the conspiracy of which defendant was a member continued at least through 2004, while defendant was a partner at Milberg Weiss, and the government is aware of no evidence whatsoever that defendant undertook any measures to withdraw from the conspiracy.” In court papers filed on Wednesday, Lerach counters that the pre-sentencing report correctly relied on November 2001 sentencing guidelines because, under his plea deal, he admitted to criminal acts that occurred before that date. Further, the plea deals of other defendants in the case, Howard Vogel and Steve Cooperman, both name plaintiffs in Milberg Weiss cases, followed guidelines based on the dates of their criminal acts, not the alleged conspiracy. “The government has not and cannot explain why it is appropriate to sentence Mr. Vogel and Mr. Cooperman under the guidelines in effect on the date of the overt acts admitted to in their plea agreements, at the same time they argue that Mr. Lerach should be sentenced under guidelines that were enacted several years after … Mr. Lerach admitted any wrongful conduct.” In separate court papers, Lerach and prosecutors agreed this week to seal some letters of support that were filed as part of his sentencing arguments.

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