Wonder what’s happening with that Milberg Weiss investigation? So do we. Since the plaintiff firm — and two of its name partners — were indicted last spring on charges of paying illegal kickbacks to clients in class actions, it’s well known that the L.A. U.S. attorney’s office has continued its probe of Milberg’s lead partner, Melvyn Weiss, and its former star lawyer, William Lerach (he’s now in charge of his own firm, Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins).
As we’ve reported over the last two years, the Lerach side of the probe has taken a long and deep look at John Torkelsen, a former top expert witness known for his convincing analyses of damages in stock fraud suits. Torkelsen, though, got himself into some trouble with an investment fund, and is now in federal prison; at the same time, his ex-wife, Pamela, is cooperating in the Lerach probe.
Torkelsen has so far refused to play ball with the L.A. prosecutors, and they’re continuing to investigate him. Last month, they sent out subpoenas seeking information about payments Torkelsen received from other plaintiff firms, and also his relationship with PNC bank. The prosecutors, we’re told, are interested in whether the expert was taking legally sketchy payments from Milberg — and also whether he was funneling money from the firm into political contributions, a charge almost as old as the seven-years-running Lerach probe.
— Justin Scheck