(June 5, 2020 / JNS) A federal judge has denied Bernie Madoff’s request for compassionate release from prison in which the disgraced financier claimed to be terminally ill and likely to die in the next 18 months.
Madoff, 82, has served 10 years of a 150-year sentence for running a Ponzi scheme worth almost $65 billion—the largest in history and one that inflicted heavy financial loss upon Jewish investors.
Following his request in February to be released early, 520 of his victims wrote to the court with 96 percent of them objecting to such a move.
“When I sentenced Mr. Madoff in 2009, it was fully my intent that he live out the rest of his life in prison,” said U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin in his ruling. “Nothing has happened in the 11 years since to change my thinking.”
The ruling came despite numerous white-collar convicts, including U.S. President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, and the president’s campaign chairman in 2016, Paul Manafort, being released early due to the coronavirus pandemic. Cohen and Manafort were allowed to complete their sentences for violating campaign finance violations and bank fraud, respectively, at home.
Madoff sought an early release similar to Bernard Ebbers, who was convicted in 2005 of fraud and conspiracy as a result of WorldCom’s fall and served more than 13 years of a 25-year sentence. He died on Feb. 2 at the age of 78.
“While Mr. Madoff’s present medical situation is most unfortunate, compassionate release is not warranted,” said Chin.
Madoff’s lawyer, Brandon Sample, expressed disappointment with the ruling, saying Chin acknowledged the state of Madoff’s health and expressed hope that Trump would commute his client’s sentence.
“Nonetheless, Judge Chin essentially found that because of the nature of Madoff’s crimes, Madoff is beyond redemption,” said Sample. “We are disappointed with Judge Chin’s refusal to grant Madoff any compassion. Our only hope now is that President Trump will show mercy to Madoff by granting a sentence commutation.”
The status of the clemency request, which was submitted last year, is currently pending, according to the U.S. Justice Department’s website.
Madoff, who purposefully took advantage of his fellow Jews, pleaded guilty to 11 crimes in 2009 and is currently behind bars at a federal prison in Butner, N.C.
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