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Bernie Madoff prosecutors ask judge to reject his bid for freedom


NEW YORK — Federal prosecutors on Wednesday night objected to Ponzi scheme mastermind Bernard Madoff’s bid for release from prison, arguing that the reviled and ailing ex-financier should continue serving his 150-year sentence.

Charging that now 81-year-old convict has “demonstrated a wholesale lack of understanding of the seriousness of his crimes and a lack of compassion for his victims, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York urged a judge to keep him in prison.

“Madoff’s crimes were ‘extraordinarily evil.’ His sentence was appropriately long. It should not be reduced,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Drew Skinner and Louis Pelligrino wrote in the filing to U.S. Circuit Court Judge Denny Chinn, who sentenced Madoff more than a decade ago.

Madoff’s lawyers are scheduled to respond to the government recommendation by  March 11.

After that, Chin will decide whether to hold a court hearing before issuing a ruling.

In making his decision, Chin is expected to consider communications from Madoff victims who responded to prosecutors’ request for their views on Madoff’s request. Numerous media organizations, including Gannett, the parent company of USA TODAY, have asked the court to make the victims’ communications and names public.

File photo taken in 2009 shows Ponzi scheme mastermind Bernard Madoff leaving Manhattan federal court in New York City.

Madoff, a former Nasdaq stock market chairman from New York City, ran a decades-long scam that gave celebrities, charities, financial funds and ordinary investors lucrative, eerily steady returns on their investments.

Income poured in, making Madoff and his family rich. His upscale lifestyle included a Manhattan condo, an oceanfront home in Montauk on Long Island’s East End, and a three-bedroom vacation apartment in the south of France.



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