Bill Lerach was one of the most prominent trial lawyers in the United States before he pleaded guilty in 2007 in connection with allegations he’d paid kickbacks to plaintiffs. He served 16 months in federal prison in Arizona and now lives in a half-way house in San Diego.
After finishing his sentence on March 8, Lerach is planning to celebrate big time. He wants to take a 44-day vacation to 18 European cities in Europe along with up to 18 family members and friends, Josh Gerstein at Politico reported.
Just one problem: Lerach will be on supervised release, and the Department of Justice doesn’t approve of his travel plans.
The department cites public statements by Lerach in which appears to minimize the severity of his crime, according to court papers filed in Los Angeles on Monday, Politico reported. Prosecutors noted a recent interview Lerach gave to the California Lawyer in which he said, “I’m not ashamed of myself in any way.”
The government is also concerned that Lerach may back away from a community service pledge to give talks to other attorneys about the consequences of his actions, Politco reported, citing the court records.
Meanwhile, Lerach’s attorneys defend the trip and argue that it needs to be taken soon, as he plans to take some elderly relatives along with him, Politico said. In their request to the court for permission to travel, they also note Lerach’s son’s “special interest in the Holocaust and WWII.”
Also, the lawyer whose net worth was once estimated to be $900 million now “needs extra time to try to negotiate travel discounts,” as a 44-day European trip for 18 people will be costly, his request said.
Politico predicts an unfavorable outcome for Lerach as U.S. District Judge John F. Walter gave him the maximum sentence possible under his plea agreement and recently rejected Lerach’s attorneys’ request to file the itinerary for the Europe trip under seal.
A former partner in the firm once known as Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, Lerach pleaded guilty in 2007 to one count of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and making false statements under oath.