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Weiss kickback trial to stay in L.A., judge says

December 21, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A judge denied a request to move the criminal kickback trial of securities lawyer Melvyn Weiss to New York from Los Angeles.

U.S. District Judge John Walter said the transfer would not be "in the interest of justice," according to a ruling posted Thursday on the court's website.

Weiss, a co-founder of New York-based law firm Milberg Weiss, was indicted Sept. 20 after an eight-year investigation into an alleged kickback scheme that paid people to be plaintiffs in class-action securities fraud lawsuits.

The firm earned more than $251 million in attorney fees though the scheme, federal prosecutors claim.

Benjamin Brafman, a lawyer for Weiss, said he was disappointed in the judge's ruling.

"Nevertheless, I remain confident that no jury, whether sitting in New York or in Los Angeles, once it has the opportunity to hear all of the evidence to be presented in this case, will ever convict such an extraordinary man as Melvyn I. Weiss," he said.

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