Former Law Partner Pleads Guilty in Milberg Weiss Case


William Lerach, a former partner at a prestigious New York law firm, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy for his role in a scheme to bribe people to become plaintiffs in lucrative class-action lawsuits.

Asked by U.S. District Judge John Walter how he would plead to the charge, Lerach answered, "Guilty, your honor."

Lerach, 61, pleaded to one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements.

After the hearing, he shook hands with the three federal prosecutors who have been leading the investigation of his former law firm, now known as Milberg Weiss.

Outside court, Lerach and his attorney John Keker declined to comment.

The seven-year federal investigation has resulted in charges against several former partners and lawyers at the firm.

The firm also has been charged in the case and pleaded not guilty to one count each of conspiracy, mail fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice in a revised indictment.

Firm co-founder Melvyn Weiss has pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiracy and one count each of obstruction of justice and making false statements.