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Bernie's funda-mental defense
New York Daily News ^ | 12/28/08

Posted on 12/30/2008 12:30:10 AM PST by TigerLikesRooster

Bernie's funda-mental defense

Sunday, December 28th 2008, 4:34 AM

If you thought Bernard Madoff’s $50 billion investment scheme was audacious, get ready for his alibi. Lawyers for the accused scammer are exploring an insanity defense, we hear.

“Bernie’s family and his attorneys may argue that, somewhere along the line, he had a mental break,” says a Madoff acquaintance. “They may even say he has a multiple personality disorder.”

Madoff’s grip on reality does show signs of slipping. The 70-year-old financier, now a prisoner of his East Side penthouse, wore a weird smile when he was photographed shortly after his Dec. 12 arrest. He’s also said to be taking a heavy dose of anti-anxiety medication.

“He seems really out of it,” says a source, who believes Madoff’s family fears he’ll follow the example of Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, the Madoff client who slit his wrists last week. “He has a very low affect. Bernie barely speaks. His wife, Ruth, and his sons, Andrew and Mark, do most of the talking for him.”

Madoff’s lead attorney, Ira Lee Sorkin, told us: “I have no comment on Mr. Madoff’s defense or mental health.”

Dr. Keith Ablow believes Sorkin could make a case for diminished capacity.

“He might try to argue that Madoff suffered from dementia or a bipolar disorder,” says the psychiatrist, who has served as an expert witness in high-profile criminal cases. “

He could argue that Madoff committed the fraud during manic, euphoric periods and that he never found the equilibrium to correct his crime. Or that he was so delusional that he convinced himself the investment returns were real. You might also plead that he was incapacitated by some character disorder, like a malignant narcissism stemming from an early-life trauma.

“Insanity defenses rarely work,” Ablow notes. “But if you can influence just one juror, he may stand a chance.”

No doubt people will call him crazy like a fox and recall mobster Vincent (Chin) Gigante, who tried to escape jail by mumbling and stumbling around the streets in his bathrobe.

Top criminal attorney Edward Hayes doesn’t think it will fly: “Madoff admitted to his sons that he knew it was a Ponzi scheme. His best defense is making himself essential to discovering where the money is and getting it to the victims.”

Still, just to be safe, the grinning Madoff might want to find himself a really tatty bathrobe.

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bipolardisorder; disorders; insanity; madoff; pea; plea; psychiatry

1 posted on 12/30/2008 12:30:10 AM PST by TigerLikesRooster
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To: TigerLikesRooster
“Insanity defenses rarely work”

Well “innocent” isn't going to work at all. “Rarely” is better than no way. What's a lawyer to do?

2 posted on 12/30/2008 12:35:02 AM PST by DB
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To: TigerLikesRooster; DB

Bernie doing a Vincent Gigante?

Oh that’s gonna be funny:

“In 1969, Gigante started feigning mental illness to escape criminal prosecution. He escaped conviction on bribery charges by producing a number of prominent psychiatrists who testified that he was legally insane. The doctors said Gigante suffered from schizophrenia, dementia, psychosis, and other disorders. Gigante allegedly enlisted his mother and wife to help him in these deceptions.

Gigante could pull off many miracles, though his favorite ploy was the “bug act”, pretending to be punch-drunk from his boxing days. Even when not under indictment, he prepared for those inevitable times (knowing the police watched him) by picking up cigarette butts off the street and smoking them, gesturing wildly in the air, having long, loud arguments with himself, or dropping his pants to urinate in the street.

Almost every day he would return from his residence to his mother’s apartment in Greenwich Village and emerge dressed in a bathrobe and pajamas or a windbreaker and shabby trousers. Accompanied by one or two bodyguards, he crossed the street to the Triangle Civic Improvement Association – a dingy storefront club that served as his headquarters – where he played pinochle and held whispered conversations with his associates.”

Bernie may want to think twice before trying that act, Vincent spent 28 years of his life wasting god-knows-how-many man-hours playing the madman. Unlike ol’ Vince, it seems obvious that Bernie’s family has absolutely no intentions of helping him pull off an insanity act. Doesn’t sound like his sons are especially grateful for the mess he’s left them.

3 posted on 12/30/2008 12:48:36 AM PST by sinanju
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To: sinanju
If he burnt a bunch of Manhattan Freudian shrinks, this will be fun.

"Your Honor, I gave my patient the money. He' sick! I'm guilty! He's guilty and sick and not guilty!"

4 posted on 12/30/2008 3:23:08 AM PST by Leisler
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To: TigerLikesRooster

“Madoff admitted to his sons that he knew it was a Ponzi scheme.”

His sons didn’t know what was going on? Yeah right. The scam continues.

5 posted on 12/30/2008 4:00:22 AM PST by shaft29 (Just your typical black woman.)
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