Recent Broward Law Blog Features

Monday, March 16, 2009

Madoff Wants Out of Jail Before Sentencing and Editorial Cartoon of the Day

Off the Wall Street Journal Blog by Ashley Jones, who just replaced Dan Slater.

First, as anticipated, Bernie Madoff, who pleaded guilty on Thursday to 11 charges related to his operation of a $65 billion Ponzi scheme, has appealed Judge Denny Chin’s decision Thursday to revoke his bail. Click here for the WSJ story; here for the filing. A hearing in front of a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit is scheduled for Thursday. Madoff is currently being held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan.

Madoff’s lawyers argued in the filing that their client isn’t a flight risk, noting his assets have been frozen, that he has previously complied with his bail conditions and that he “dutifully appeared” in court to plead guilty despite knowing he faced a lengthy prison term.

“The district court’s conclusion that Mr. Madoff is a flight risk is clearly erroneous,” Horwitz and Sorkin said. “The risk of Mr. Madoff’s flight in this case is virtually zero because the lower court’s previous bail orders set stringent safeguards to ensure that Mr. Madoff is both sufficiently dissuaded from fleeing and is closely monitored while detained in his home.”

Prior to a conviction at trial or a guilty plea, the burden is on prosecutors to show a defendant isn’t eligible for bail — namely he’s a risk of flight or a danger to the community.

The burden shifts to the defendant after a conviction, said Bradley Simon, a white-collar defense lawyer at Simon & Partners in New York and a former federal prosecutor. “I just don’t see any basis for the Second Circuit to reverse the judge,” Simon said.

In other Madoff news, we also now know that Madoff says he held in assets just weeks after his multi-million fraud was revealed: between $823 million and $826 million. This was revealed in a document filed alongside his bail motion.

The bulk of the assets came in the $700 million he valued for the ownership of his business, which is now being liquidated in a bankruptcy proceeding. The rest is a list of various Robb Report possessions: a mansion in Palm Beach, Fla., estimated at $11 million, half-interest in a BLM Air Charter aircraft worth $12 million, and a Steinway piano valued at $39,000.

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