Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Article in AmLaw Daily -- Defending Mel Weiss, by Ben Hallman. Here's an excerpt:
Mother Teresa, move aside. Melvyn Weiss, a plaintiffs lawyer who made millions of dollars by suing corporate America--and who recently pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy for paying kickbacks to clients in many of those cases--deserves recognition as "one of the greatest humanitarians of our time," according to a sentencing memo his lawyer filed Friday.
The table of contents sets the tone for the memo, which is effusive in its praise of Weiss. "The scope of the charity and generosity of Melvyn Weiss is breathtaking," reads the header to one section. Weiss has a "compulsion" to make the world a better place, reads another. He is also "spontaneously kind," the memo says.
On March 17, Weiss signed a plea deal calling for a sentence of 18-33 months, admitting that he "engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity" for at least 26 years. In a subsequent memo to the court, prosecutors asked California district court judge John Walter to sentence Weiss to the full 33 months. The Weiss memo, filed by attorney Benjamin Brafman, pleads for leniency. "The shame Mr. Weiss has suffered and will continue to suffer is overwhelming," it says. "To be candid, it is difficult to imagine a greater punishment than the punishment that has already been imposed by the public humiliation...as he now deals with the prospect of incarceration and the indignity of disbarment."