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Federal prosecutors are expected to indict trend-setting, class-action lawyer Melvyn Weiss on Thursday as part of a long-running legal action charging his law firm paid plaintiffs, Milberg Weis s said. Weiss, who made millions suing U.S. corporations on behalf of shareholders, is no longer working in the firm's management but concentrating on defending himself, Milberg Weiss said in a statement posted on its Web site.

"Milberg Weiss understands that a second superseding indictment will be issued tomorrow that will include new charges against the firm and also Melvyn Weiss," the statement said.

Weiss, 72, long reigned as the king of U.S. class-action litigation, casting himself as the protector of the common investor and creating enemies throughout corporate America. Weiss' lawyer was not immediately available for comment.

Milberg Weiss said it remained proud of its and Weiss' accomplishments and did not anticipate the indictment would interrupt its work.

News of Weiss' pending indictment came a day after another of the firm's former partners, William Lerach, agreed to plead guilty to criminal conspiracy and go to prison for his involvement in the scheme.

On its Web site, the Wall Street Journal said another former partner at Milberg Weiss, Steven Schulman, is on the verge of reaching a plea deal with the government that will likely be clinched this week. The report cited two people familiar with the situation, who said Schulman's deal may include jail time.

Schulman, who was indicted along with the law firm, which has pleaded not guilty to participating in a scheme in which several individuals were secretly paid to serve as plaintiffs in more than 150 lawsuits.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles declined to comment on media reports regarding Schulman and the statement issued by Milberg Weiss.


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