Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Article in the Wall Street Journal -- Closing Argument: Mr. Lerach Mulls Life Behind Bars, by Peter Lattman. Here's an excerpt:
Yesterday in Los Angeles, U.S. District Judge John Walter sentenced Mr. Lerach, 61 years old, to two years in federal prison for conspiring to obstruct justice in connection with alleged kickback payments made by his former law firm, Milberg Weiss LLP. Mr. Lerach is also paying an $8 million penalty. He has been suspended from the practice of law and will be disbarred.
The punishment brings to an end a controversial legal career. The costly class-action lawsuits Mr. Lerach pursued in the name of shareholders made him loathed in America's boardrooms. Executives hit with his suits said they had been "Lerached." His defenders maintained he had championed investors and helped keep companies accountable.
It's the latter view that Mr. Lerach, who has earned more than $200 million, sees as his legacy. He recently looked back at his career and the case against him in an interview at his club and at his home, an Italianate California mansion perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla. And, with his Chihuahua, Tommy, on his lap, he looked ahead to being in prison and to getting out.
The Wall Street Journal also has an editorial on Lerach.