Madoff decision delayed until Monday

January 9, 2009 10:29:34 PM PST
Bernard Madoff avoided the dismal prospect of spending the weekend in jail Friday as a judge delayed a decision on whether to revoke his bail amid allegations that the disgraced financier is trying to keep his assets away from investors burned by a $50 billion fraud. The postponement came as prosecutors received a 30-day extension to bring an indictment against Madoff, according to defense lawyer Ira Sorkin, who had to consent to the extension. Prosecutors originally had a Monday deadline to bring an indictment; the U.S. Attorney's office declined comment.

The bail decision by Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis has been highly anticipated amid an outcry by the public, investors and prosecutors that Madoff be sent to jail. Investors have been especially incensed that a man accused of the largest fraud in history is allowed to spend his days and nights in his $7 million luxury Manhattan apartment.

Ellis put the bail decision off until noon Monday.

Defense lawyers don't believe he poses a threat to the community or is a risk to flee - the two main considerations in bail decisions. Madoff has been confined to his penthouse around the clock - the only exception being court appearances - and under constant guard as part of his release.

While free on bail, Madoff sent more than $1 million worth of jewelry and heirlooms as gifts to family and friends over the holidays. Prosecutors said that the gifts were grounds to have his bail revoked because what's left of Madoff's assets will eventually be returned to burned investors. Madoff's lawyers called the sending of the gifts an innocent mistake.

Madoff's bail conditions have grown tougher ever since his arrest one months ago.

He was allowed to go home after his initial court appearance on $10 million bail secured only by the signatures of him and his wife. Six days later, Madoff was unable to get two of the required four co-signers of his bond, prompting the judge to require home detention with electronic monitoring, imposition of a curfew.

Madoff was later ordered to be confined to his apartment 24 hours per day with a private guard paid for by Madoff's wife.

Then on Christmas Eve, he mailed the heirlooms, including at least 16 watches, a jade necklace, an emerald ring, four diamond brooches, two sets of cufflinks, a diamond bracelet and other assorted jewelry from brands like Cartier and Tiffany.

Prosecutors said the defense's claim that Madoff's holiday gifts were merely an attempt to reach out to his immediate family and close friends with whom contact had been cut off was "preposterous."

"That's what telephones, e-mails and personal letters are for," Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Litt wrote.

----
Click here for New York and Tri-State News

Report a typo || Send a story idea || Send news photos/videos
Follow us on Facebook || Twitter New York News || Twitter Breaking News



Load Comments