Witness Testifies He Got $3 Million Bonus, New Car As Bonus

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) - The first witness in the fen-phen settlement trial of three attorneys testified he got a $3 million bonus and a new car for working on the case.

David Helmers testified Wednesday in Covington, where Lexington attorneys Shirley Cunningham Jr., William Gallion and Melbourne Mills are being tried on charges they stole money from clients who claimed they were sickened by the diet drug.

Helmers was a recent law school graduate when the $200 million settlement was reached in 2001.

He testified he was a junior member of the law firm and was following orders when he distributed money to 40 of the 440 people who won the settlement. He said he offered those people less money than they could have received.

The defendants are accused of stealing $45 million from clients and putting another $20 million in a charitable trust for which they got $5,000 each per month to manage.

Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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