Signs emerged yesterday that Bernard Madoff’s counsel is actively negotiating a plea agreement that could end the prosecution against him without a trial. The NY Times reports that prosecutors acknowledged in a court order released Monday that Madoff’s lawyer, Ira Lee Sorkin, is “engaging in discussions concerning a possible disposition of this case.”
Former prosecutors and regulators agreed that this language clearly indicated that the discussions were about a deal in which Madoff would plead guilty in exchange for some type of leniency. “He’s trying to cut a deal,” said Marvin G. Pickholz, a former securities regulator and specialist in white-collar crime. “The only other possible ‘disposition’ that could be negotiated would be for the government to drop the whole case — and that’s not going to happen.”
The reference to the negotiations came in an order signed yesterday by the U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis, that approved a 30-day delay in a hearing on Madoff’s case that otherwise would have been held on Monday.