Milberg Weiss Co-Founder Pleads Not Guilty


The co-founder of a prestigious New York law firm and two co-defendants pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges related to a major class-action kickback scheme.

Melvyn Weiss entered his pleas to two counts of conspiracy and one count each of obstruction of justice and making false statements in relation to documents that were the subject of a grand jury subpoena.

Not guilty pleas were also entered by plaintiff Seymour M. Lazar and attorney Paul T. Selzer to charges contained in a superseding indictment filed last month.

Lazar, who allegedly received kickbacks, and Selzer are each charged with four counts of money laundering. Selzer also is charged with one count of conspiracy to launder money and a count of criminal forfeiture.

Prosecutors said the firm previously known as Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman made an estimated $250 million by filing class-action lawsuits against some of America's largest corporations. Kickbacks were allegedly paid to people who agreed to be plaintiffs.

The seven-year investigation has resulted in guilty pleas by several former partners and lawyers at the firm.