Bernard Madoff has left the confines of his luxury penthouse to appear in a Manhattan courtroom. It will be the first public appearance by the alleged $50 billion fraudster in nearly two months. The disgraced financier may speak at the hearing in which prosecutors will attempt to get Madoff's attorney thrown off the case saying there is a conflict of interest in his representation.
Madoff's lawyer Ira Lee Sorkin acknowledged Tuesday that he invested $18,860 with Madoff through a benefits fund at his former law firm. That investment will be one of the potential conflicts of interest discussed at Tuesday's hearing. Madoff is reportedly expected to waive any issues of conflict of interest.
Madoff, 70, has been charged in a worldwide $50 billion Ponzi scheme in which early investors were redeemed with the money from new clients. He is expected to plead guilty to securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering at a hearing set for Thursday morning said a source familiar with the case who did not want to be named. He effectively faces a life sentence.
At least 25 victims have come forward and requested they be heard by the government at Thursday's hearing.
According to a letter submitted by e-mail to Manhattan Federal Court Judge Denny Chin, who is presiding in the Madoff criminal case, prosecutors have received emails from Madoff's alleged victims wanting to be heard in court.
According an order by Chin signed late Friday, the government was allowed to notify by Web site postings the thousands of Madoff investors burned in the scandal that they have the right to appear in court on Thursday.
Victims have until Wednesday morning to submit their requests to be heard. Chin is likely to ask for an additional update prior to that time.
The once-respected Wall Street trader and investment manager was arrested and charged with fraud in December after authorities said he confessed to running the scheme over many years.
Madoff is so far the only person charged in the purported fraud.