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Prosecutors ask for 2-year sentence for former Milberg Weiss partner

[JURIST] The US Attorney's Office for the Central District of California [official website] has recommended that former Milberg Weiss [firm website] partner William Lerach receive two years in prison for his part in the firm's illegal kickback scheme. Lerach pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to obstruct justice after reaching an agreement [JURIST reports] with prosecutors in September. In court documents filed Monday, the US Attorney's Office disagreed with a 15-month recommendation by probation officers, saying that it would inadequately deter others. Sentencing is scheduled for on February 11.

In October, Milberg Weiss co-founder Melvyn Weiss pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to federal charges of conspiracy, racketeering, obstruction of justice and making false statements. In May 2006, a federal grand jury indicted [JURIST report] the firm and two name partners, David J. Bershad and Steven G. Schulman, on charges of conspiracy to make false statements and obstructing justice. Lerach was named as "Partner B" in the indictment [PDF text]. As part of the scheme, certain individuals who agreed to serve as class action representatives were promised 10 percent of the attorney fees eventually gathered by Milberg Weiss. Three individuals pleaded guilty [JURIST report] in connection with the scheme in May 2006, and Bershad pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to conspiracy charges in July. Reuters has more.

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