Madoff To Plead Guilty Thursday

Mar 9 2009 | 1:51am ET

Bernard Madoff, accused of orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme in history, is expected to plead guilty to charges stemming from the alleged $50 billion fraud later this week.

Madoff will appear in Manhattan federal court on Thursday for a “plea proceeding,” according to a filing Friday. Madoff’s attorneys and federal prosecutors have been in talks about a plea bargain since Madoff’s arrest in December; last week, Madoff waived his right to be indicted by a grand jury in a move widely seen as presaging a plea deal.

In what might otherwise be an anticlimactic end to a scandal that sent shockwaves throughout the hedge fund industry and world financial system, Thursday’s hearing promises to provide a certain amount of drama. U.S. District Judge Denny Chin ruled that Madoff’s alleged victims will be allowed to address the court. Those interested in doing so can e-mail prosecutors at usanys.madoff@usdog.gov. The deadline is Wednesday at 10 a.m.

It is unclear how many of the thousands of potentially angry victims may seek to let Madoff know, face to face, how his alleged fraud affected them, or how many Chin will allow to speak.

Thursday’s hearing will be preceeded by one tomorrow, at which Chin will decide whether Madoff’s lawyer has a conflict of interest, as his parent had invested with Madoff before their deaths and he previously represented another Madoff investors. In other legal shuffling involving the lawyer, Ira Sorkin, he told Newsday that Madoff’s wife, Ruth, would be getting her own lawyer.


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