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Thread: The Brooke Astor Case

  1. #31
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    A shameless pack of dogs ...

    Lawyer Charged in Astor Case
    Has Been a Beneficiary in Clients’ Wills

    John Marshall Mantel for The New York Times
    Francis X. Morrissey Jr. is charged with forging Brooke Astor’s signature.

    December 1, 2007

    Ever since the family battle broke out over Brooke Astor’s care and fortune, most of the attention has focused on her only son, Anthony D. Marshall, 83, who served as the steward of his mother’s finances for more than a quarter-century. But indicted this week along with Mr. Marshall was a lawyer with a troubled legal career who has faced disciplinary action in at least two states.

    Yesterday morning, that lawyer, Francis X. Morrissey Jr., 65, turned himself in at the Manhattan district attorney’s office after being charged in the 18-count indictment with helping Mr. Marshall exploit an ailing Mrs. Astor so the two men could gain financially. Mr. Morrissey is charged with, among other things, forging Mrs. Astor’s signature on a final amendment to her 2002 will.

    In the afternoon, Mr. Morrissey, his wrists handcuffed in front of him, appeared at his arraignment but did not utter a word. One of his lawyers, Pery D. Krinsky, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. An assistant district attorney, Peirce Moser, then summed up the crimes that Mr. Morrissey was charged with committing.

    “Under the guise of representing Mrs. Astor when she had diminished mental capacity, the defendant in reality worked himself into a position to collect millions of dollars when she died,” he told Judge A. Kirke Bartley Jr.

    Mr. Moser asked that Mr. Morrissey provide a personal recognizance bond of $100,000 and surrender his passport, the same request prosecutors made of Mr. Marshall on Tuesday. Mr. Morrissey stroked his chin with his left hand, which was no longer cuffed, and signed the necessary papers before leaving the courthouse in silence.

    It would seem to be the darkest moment in the career of a lawyer who over the years has gained a reputation for ingratiating himself to older people and finding his way into their wills or trusts, mostly as a beneficiary, but also as an executor or a trustee.

    In the indictment in the Astor case, Mr. Morrissey was charged with forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument, scheme to defraud, and conspiracy. Mr. Marshall was charged with scheme to defraud, grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, falsifying business records and other charges.

    Mr. Morrissey has been accused in several previous cases of taking advantage of mentally incompetent people near death and then being named as a beneficiary of such bequests as a Park Avenue apartment, a Midtown Manhattan apartment, expensive art and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.

    Those cases were settled in confidential agreements with the other interested parties. As part of those settlements, Mr. Morrissey admitted no wrongdoing.

    In a gift that was not challenged, Mr. Morrissey received an annuity worth more than $100,000 from an elderly alcoholic woman who claimed to have fallen in love with him before her death a few years ago, according to a person briefed on the situation. She kept a photo of Mr. Morrissey next to her bed.

    One of Mr. Morrissey’s lawyers, Michael S. Ross, said in an e-mail message yesterday, “A handful of Mr. Morrissey’s close friends, including some he had known literally for decades, showed their appreciation and deep feelings by making gifts to him in their estates.

    “While these gifts upset some who would receive less money, Mr. Morrissey’s friends were fully entitled to express their feelings for him in this way,” Mr. Ross said.

    Before he was indicted in the Astor case, Mr. Morrissey’s most serious problem as a lawyer stemmed from work he had done in the field of admiralty law. In 1995, he was issued a two-year suspension by the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court linked to his representation of a Spanish company, Mar Oil, in a dispute it was having with an insurer over the loss of one of its supertankers.

    Mr. Morrissey, who was in disagreement with Mar Oil over his fee, was found to have wrongfully taken $925,675 out of an escrow account belonging to the firm to compensate himself, and to have deceived a top company executive into signing a letter that approved the payment, according to court documents.

    Stephen Gillers, a professor of legal ethics at New York University School of Law, has included the case in his curriculum.

    I teach the case because it is a good illustration of how not to treat your clients, and it is factually dramatic in showing how Morrissey’s conduct violated his duty to Mar Oil,” Mr. Gillers said.

    In November 1996, Mr. Morrissey submitted his resignation from the State Bar of California with charges pending against him, according to records. A spokeswoman for the bar said that the charges remain confidential.

    Mr. Morrissey is the son of a Boston judge who was nominated for a position on the federal bench in the mid-1960s. But the nomination, which was being pushed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, was pulled back after questions were raised about the elder Mr. Morrissey’s qualifications and character.

    The younger Mr. Morrissey, who received his law degree from the University of California, was admitted to practice law in New York on Oct. 15, 1973, according to court records.

    Later that decade, he met Mrs. Astor. After 2000, Mr. Morrissey developed a closer relationship with her and started advising her on estate planning.

    He was invited to her birthday celebrations. He dined with her at the Knickerbocker Club and accompanied her to museum events and the theater. He took her to the opening of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” on May 6, 2003, in which Mr. Marshall and his wife, Charlene, had made an investment, according to a copy of Mrs. Astor’s schedule.

    Mr. Morrissey would drop Mrs. Astor notes about the goings-on of New York society and send her flowers and books, like “The Diaries of Beatrice Webb,” correspondence from her to Mr. Morrissey showed.

    Mr. Morrissey has also been an investor in and board member of Mr. Marshall’s theater production company, Delphi Productions, which received hundreds of thousands of dollars of Mrs. Astor’s money.

    During this period and in earlier years, Mr. Morrissey was being accused of exploitation.

    On March 3, 2002, Sam Schurr, an economist who would die the next day at 83, apparently signed an amendment to a family trust that gave Mr. Morrissey his East 57th Street apartment and a drawing by Diego Rivera.

    In court papers challenging the document, a relative of Mr. Schurr’s said it “was the product of fraud and undue influence exerted on the decedent” by Mr. Morrissey and others.

    Mr. Schurr was “incompetent” on the day of the signing, according to the court filing, which also said that he had suffered a stroke in May 2000 and that his health “deteriorated progressively.” The matter was subject to a confidential settlement in 2005.

    He’s a ‘walker,’ as we say in the trade: someone who befriends elderly people, mostly women, with the idea of getting on their good side and getting into their wills,” said J. Hayes Kavanagh, a lawyer who represented several clients in a similar case against Mr. Morrissey.

    In that matter, beneficiaries and a public administrator appointed by a surrogate’s court alleged that Mr. Morrissey had exploited a woman during a revision of her will on July 17, 1997.

    The woman, Elisabeth von Knapitsch, a widow who lived on Park Avenue, died on Jan. 15, 2000, at 91 with an estate worth about $15 million. In her will, Mr. Morrissey, who had known her since the early 1970s, received Ms. von Knapitsch’s apartment, the furniture, four oil paintings — including two by Renoir — as well as $300,000 and whatever was left of her estate after other bequests had been made.

    But in court filings, five beneficiaries to her fortune said that Ms. von Knapitsch “was not of sound mind or memory” and was not capable of making a will. They accused Mr. Morrissey and others of subjecting her to “duress and undue influence.” Under a settlement agreement, Mr. Morrissey received a significant portion of the money designated for him in the will.

    A month before Jose Juarez Garza died in May 1987 at the age of 56, the will he made in 1976 was amended, appointing Mr. Morrissey as both co-executor and lawyer for his estate. But Mr. Garza, who was in the hospital at the time, was so ill that he apparently signed the amendment with an X, which was accompanied by the words “His Mark,” written by Peter J. Kelley, a lawyer who signed the document as a witness.

    Mr. Morrissey supervised the signing of the amendment. “Mr. Garza was in extremis and could not move his hand very easily. He was very weak,” Mr. Kelley said in an interview. “So we had him just make a mark. But from what I could tell, he knew what he was doing.”

    Mr. Kelley said he had worked with Mr. Morrissey on a number of wills and amendments, known as codicils, for various clients. He said that Mr. Morrissey would contact him and “give me the parameters” and ask him to draft a will or a codicil.

    As for Mr. Morrissey becoming a beneficiary in a number of wills, Mr. Kelley said that Mr. Morrissey “is connected in the social set.” He added, “ In my experience, he seldom sent out a bill, and people reciprocated. And he is extremely good at caring for elderly people, but it could be interpreted in different ways by different people.”

    “He seemed dedicated to seeing that these people maintained their quality of life to the utmost,” Mr. Kelley said. “He would often take them to lunch every week, or see to it they would go to the occasional show or museum tour.”

    Another lawyer who Mr. Morrissey has often collaborated with on estate matters is Warren Forsythe, according to court records. This relationship was highlighted in another case in which Mr. Morrisey was accused of untoward influence in being designated in an amendment to receive one-third of a trust of Louise Page Morris, who died in October 2002 at age 98.

    In a petition to set aside the amendment, two relatives of Ms. Morris asserted that the two lawyers had unduly influenced “clients of advanced age and fragile condition to sign wills and trust agreements that provided for gifts to” Mr. Morrissey and “for the appointments” of Mr. Morrissey and Mr. Forsythe “as paid fiduciaries of the wills and trusts.”

    Mr. Forsythe did not return calls seeking comment.

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

  2. #32
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    Astor Son Withheld Valid Passport, Prosecutors Say

    John Marshall Mantel for The New York Times
    Anthony D. Marshall submitted his passport to the district attorney
    two days after turning in an expired one.

    December 1, 2007

    At Anthony D. Marshall’s arraignment on Tuesday, he turned over his passport. An expired passport.

    Now, the Manhattan district attorney’s office is furious, and in a three-page letter to a judge in the case says the incident is reason to tighten Mr. Marshall’s bail conditions and start an inquiry.

    It turns out that Mr. Marshall did have a valid passport — the same one he used to travel to Turks and Caicos last year — but did not admit it when asked by a detective, prosecutors said.

    At best, this incident demonstrates that the defendant has a cavalier attitude about the orders of the court,” two of the assistant district attorneys on the case said yesterday in the letter to Judge A. Kirke Bartley Jr. of Criminal Court.

    At worst, it demonstrates that the defendant purposely tried to defraud the court by surrendering an expired passport while retaining a current one,” the letter said.

    Authorities noticed that the passport had expired only after Mr. Marshall turned it in. Then, a day after his arraignment on charges of exploiting his mother, Brooke Astor, for financial gain, Mr. Marshall was called by a detective in the case about another matter. He asked about the expired passport.

    Mr. Marshall told the detective that the out-of-date passport was the only one he had and assured him that he would not apply for a new one until the old one was returned, according to the letter.

    However, later that day, the detective contacted federal passport authorities, according to the letter, and learned that Mr. Marshall had been issued a new passport in April 2005.

    At noon on Thursday, Mr. Marshall called the detective and told him that he had found a valid passport, the letter said. The detective told Mr. Marshall to bring it to him as soon as possible.

    At 1:30 p.m., Mr. Marshall and his wife, Charlene, arrived at the district attorney’s office with the passport.

    “Mrs. Marshall offered that the two passports had been bound in a rubber band and that she must have brought the wrong one to court by mistake,” the letter said.

    But the prosecutors said in the document that it was difficult to believe that it was all an innocent mistake.

    Mr. Marshall was released on a $100,000 personal recognizance bond. But prosecutors now believe that is not adequate.

    They said they planned to request that Mr. Marshall put up either cash or properties “sufficient to guarantee that he appear at all future court appearances and that he take the orders of the court seriously.”

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

  3. #33

    Default Passport

    You almost just feel bad for the guy now; he's just such a bad criminal. When I renewed my passport a year ago, though, I had to surrender my old one. I guess I don't have friends in high enough places (present company excluded, of course!).

  4. #34
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    But both of those POS have been living the high life for good long time.

    And to think that none of this would have come to light if Brooke's grandson hadn't made a ruckus.

    Maybe they should have offered the "kid" a cut?

    But no ... they wanted to keep it all for themselves.

    Just too damned greedy.

  5. #35
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    No doubt that reply ^ (plus numerous ansers I'd give to the questionnaire cited below) would keep me off this jury ...

    Lawyers Delve Deep Into Minds of Jury Pool in Astor Son’s Trial

    April 3, 2009

    Before making it onto the 12-person panel that will decide the fate of Brooke Astor’s son, potential jurors face a 10-page questionnaire, with an additional two pages reserved for comments, that examines the nitty-gritty details of their lives and their thinking.

    Sure, there are the usual questions, like whether one has ever been the victim of a crime or what newspapers one likes to read.

    But in a case that will explore New York high society and the struggle over the estate of its matriarch, Mrs. Astor, jurors have also been asked to open up about the details of their own fortunes.

    Do you have a will? If so, and if you have a spouse or partner, what percentage of your assets have you left to him or her in your will? How much to your children? How much to any charity, cultural or other nonprofit organization?

    And then there are those questions that examine the mind.

    Do you personally know people whom you consider to be extremely wealthy? If so, please explain. Do you have any attitudes, positive or negative, toward people of great wealth that would affect your ability to be a fair and impartial juror in this case?

    Mrs. Astor’s son, Anthony D. Marshall, is facing charges that he looted his mother’s estate by taking advantage of her Alzheimer’s disease to make her amend her will in his favor. Prosecutors have also charged Francis X. Morrissey, a lawyer who did estate planning for Mrs. Astor.

    Both men are charged with conspiracy and scheming to defraud. Mr. Marshall also faces charges of grand larceny that could send him to prison for up to 25 years if he is convicted. Mr. Morrissey also faces charges of forgery that carry a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.

    The case is less than halfway through a painstakingly long jury selection process, made especially difficult by the fact that the trial is expected to last two to three months. For the past four days, Justice A. Kirke Bartley Jr., who is presiding over the trial in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, and the lawyers for both sides have been trying to find people who can make a three-month commitment.

    So far, about 200 people have volunteered, and on Monday the lawyers will begin weeding through the questionnaires, which have 43 questions plus sub-questions, to whittle their way toward a panel of 12 jurors and 4 alternates.

    Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

  6. #36
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    Default The Fight over the Brooke Astor Estate - Trial Day 3

    Nice work if you can steal it.

    May 1, 2009

    Anthony Marshall paid himself more than $200,000 an hour for his efforts in selling his mother's favorite painting out from under her, according to testimony yesterday in the sensational Brooke Astor swindle trial.

    That's a pretty high fee -- a total of $2 million for fewer than 10 hours' work -- considering Marshall didn't exactly get a good price.

    He sold the painting -- "Up the Avenue from Thirty-Fourth Street, May 1917," by Childe Hassam, for $10 million -- taking his $2 million "commission" off the top in what prosecutors are calling a grand larceny punishable by up to 25 years in prison. The sale, to the Gerald Peters Gallery on East 78th Street, took place in 2002, gallery Vice President Baird Ryan testified.

    Speaking to jurors on day three of testimony, Ryan said Marshall had originally hoped to sell the masterpiece for $12 million, on consignment. But Marshall agreed to shave $2 million off the price after Ryan told him it just wasn't selling. Lo and behold, the painting was ultimately flipped to billionaire financier George Soros for a reported $20 million.

    "Did you ever meet Brooke Astor during this entire transaction," asked prosecutor Joel Seidemann. "Not that I remember," Ryan replied, cautiously. The gallery big declined to comment as he left court. As photographers snapped away, he tried to hide behind the two lawyers he'd taken to court with him.

    Prosecutors say that around the time of the Hassam sale in February 2002, a month before Astor's 100th birthday, she was ripe for the swindling.

    Once the emerald-bedecked, white-gloved grande dame of New York society, Astor had begun suffering from the merciless onslaught of Alzheimer's some five years previous, in her mid-90s. Even while she still headed the Vincent Astor Foundation, co-workers would catch the old gal staring blankly at a list of grantees, unable to recall who they were despite having personally approved their projects.

    Then there was that awkward meeting in 1995 with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a meeting Astor had arranged herself, during which she couldn't remember who he was.

    Astor even began worrying, in an almost delusional way, about her finances, showing her foundation director some bundles of shopping bags and announcing, sheepishly, "I bought a lot of shoes, and Tony isn't going to approve. Tony says I can't afford it."

    She was worth well over $100 million, prosecutors say.

    Marshall, 84, is trying to win the case by proving that Astor had many bad moments but many lucid ones as well -- and that it was during those that she agreed to hand him paintings, vacation homes and tens of millions of dollars in new bequests.

    In testimony so far, prosecutors have paraded five of Astor's friends and co-workers to tell pitiable tales of her decline.

    Each time, the witness has been cross-examined by lawyers for Marshall and his co-defendant, the alleged swindle-enabling lawyer Francis Morrissey, and the lawyers wring from these prosecution witnesses grudging admissions that, even in her final years, Astor very occasionally showed shadows of her old wit.

    Yesterday, for instance, Astor's favorite caterer, Sean Driscoll, founder of Glorious Foods, regaled jurors on direct testimony about how, at a private lunch in late 2003, the confused Astor thought she was in a restaurant and tried to hand her gold AmEx card to Driscoll's butler.

    But, defense lawyer Frederick Hafetz pressed Driscoll on cross, didn't Mrs. Astor also have enough wits about her that afternoon to make a witty quip about the panther brooch on her shoulder, a gift from President Bill Clinton?

    The caterer conceded Astor had indeed remarked, cuttingly, that she'd not been invited to the White House by either of the Bushes.

    "She said it with some wit and some humor; is that correct?" Hafetz asked.

    "Yes," the caterer answered.

    The day concluded with testimony from perhaps Astor's most longstanding friend, the noted author Louis Auchincloss, who had socialized with her for six decades. Jurors chuckled as the patrician-sounding Auchincloss told them Astor had been petrified of poverty immediately after the death of her second husband but quickly became a very merry widow.

    "She laughed all the way through lunch," he. "And then I found out she was engaged to Vincent Astor."

    The six-year marriage, which ended with Vincent's death, was a difficult one for Louis' good friend Brooke -- and for Vincent, the author joked. "He didn't like any of her friends," Auchincloss recalled. "He didn't like me. He didn't like me in particular."

    "Did there come a time when Vincent Astor died?" asked the prosecutor.

    "Oh, yes!" Auchincloss said, brightly. "That was a great relief!"

    The prosecution's case continues Monday, with scheduled witnesses including Astor pal Betsy Gotbaum and Metropolitan Museum Director Philippe de Montebello.

    Copyright 2009 NYP Holdings, Inc.

  7. #37
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    All BROOKE, All the TIMES.

  8. #38
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    Prosecutor Argues for Prison Term for Astor’s Son

    December 12, 2009

    Calling Brooke Astor’s son “nothing more than ‘a thief in a three-piece suit,’ ” prosecutors in Manhattan submitted a blistering petition on Friday asking a judge to uphold his first-degree grand larceny conviction, which carries mandatory prison time.

    The 34-page memo, written by Joel J. Seidemann, an assistant district attorney, came in response to papers filed a week earlier by the lawyers for Mrs. Astor’s son, Anthony D. Marshall, saying that a prison sentence for the 85-year-old man would be akin to a death sentence.

    Mr. Seidemann argued that Mr. Marshall’s own age was one of the reasons he manipulated his mother, who died in 2007 at age 105, into funneling tens of millions of dollars his way. Mr. Marshall was worried that if he died before Mrs. Astor, then his wife, Charlene, would be left with nothing, Mr. Seidemann wrote.

    “It is perverse to suggest that punishment would be unjust based on the very factor that drove Marshall to steal in the first place,” the memo said.

    In their papers filed last week, Mr. Marshall’s lawyers submitted letters from two of his physicians saying that imprisonment would lead to his death, a punishment that does not fit the crime. Mr. Marshall has a long list of medical problems, according to the letters, and he had quadruple bypass surgery in 2008.

    But, referring to information he received from prison officials, Mr. Seidemann wrote that there were prisons outfitted to care for older patients with medical problems like Mr. Marshall. And Mr. Seidemann said that it was not unusual for an older man to go to prison, citing several cases, including that of Bernard L. Madoff, who is 71.

    If the judge in the case, Justice A. Kirke Bartley Jr., were to drop the top count against Mr. Marshall to avoid sending him to prison, it would send the wrong message, Mr. Seidemann wrote. In addition to first-degree grand larceny, Mr. Marshall and Francis X. Morrissey Jr., a lawyer who worked on Mrs. Astor’s estate, were convicted of various other counts that they took advantage of her Alzheimer’s disease to trick her into changing her will.

    “For Marshall to skirt his punishment would undoubtedly shake public confidence in the criminal justice system,” Mr. Seidemann wrote. The public, he added, “would applaud the imposition of the mandated state prison sentence upon a defendant who committed deplorable crimes and remains unrepentant to this day.”

    Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

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    Brooke Astor’s Son Is Sentenced to Prison

    December 22, 2009

    The 85-year-old son of Brooke Astor, the longtime philanthropist and beloved doyenne of New York society, was sentenced Monday to one to three years in prison for siphoning millions from her before she died.

    It was a finale — some would say a sobering, Shakespearean finale — to a case that had mushroomed from a family feud over her care into a five-month trial for “grand theft Astor,” as one prosecutor described it on Monday, “a six-year crime spree involving a series of larcenies.”

    Lawyers for her son, Anthony D. Marshall, painted a different picture in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, that of a proud Marine who had seen combat at Iwo Jima; a distinguished former C.I.A. employee; a respected former diplomat; and a Tony Award-winning Broadway producer.

    But given a chance to explain himself, or perhaps to give voice to his relationship with his mother, Mr. Marshall decided to pass, just as he had at his trial, when he did not testify.

    On Monday, when Justice A. Kirke Bartley Jr. asked Mr. Marshall if he had anything to say before the sentence was announced, Mr. Marshall rose with difficulty at the defense table. Justice Bartley told him to sit down and had a court officer give him a hand-held microphone so he would not have to lean into the one on the table.

    But Mr. Marshall said only 11 words: “I have nothing to add to what my attorneys have said.”

    At times, the five-month trial had seemed to be as much about Mrs. Astor’s last years as it was about the crimes Mr. Marshall was accused of. But the sentencing hearing focused squarely on Mr. Marshall, and his co-defendant, Francis X. Morrissey Jr., 67.

    “It is a paradox to me that such abundance has led to such incredible sadness,” Justice Bartley said. Of Mrs. Astor, the judge said: “What would she say if she were here? Would she blanch at the spectacle?”

    Mr. Marshall’s son Philip — whose anger at his father became public in 2006 when he filed a guardianship petition asserting that his father had neglected Mrs. Astor’s care — said in an e-mail message that he had no comment on the sentence.

    It was the minimum sentence allowed. Justice Bartley gave Mr. Marshall 30 days to report to jail, but he could remain free on bail while appealing the conviction.

    For Mr. Marshall, the sentence covered the most serious of the 14 counts on which he was convicted: first-degree grand larceny, for giving himself a retroactive lump-sum raise of about $1 million for managing his mother’s finances. Justice Bartley also gave Mr. Marshall a one-year sentences for each of the 13 other counts, to run at the same time as the longer sentence.

    Mr. Marshall showed no response as Justice Bartley announced the sentence. Throughout the hearing his wife, Charlene, was heard to sob from her seat in the courtroom.

    In court papers, Mr. Marshall’s lawyers argued that sending him to prison would be tantamount to imposing a death sentence. Mr. Marshall has a long record of health problems, they said.

    He underwent quadruple bypass surgery last year, and his lawyers presented statements from his cardiologist, who said Mr. Marshall had become frailer and weaker during the trial.

    Mr. Marshall’s lawyers also submitted a separate statement from a neurologist who said he had been taking care of Mr. Marshall since mid-June, in the wake of a transient ischemic attack, commonly called a mini-stroke. “Mr. Marshall is not capable of withstanding the inevitable hardship which a jail sentence confers on a patient,” the neurologist, Dr. Raymond H. Coll, wrote, “and will react adversely.”

    Mr. Morrissey, a lawyer who was accused of being a primary architect of a scheme to defraud Ms. Astor by changing her will to benefit Mr. Marshall, was also sentenced to one to three years.

    Justice Bartley said Mr. Morrissey had abandoned his “higher duties” as a lawyer and committed “the moral and ethical lapses that were apparent to me throughout this trial.”

    The judge said that Mr. Morrissey had played a major role in the case and that he and Mr. Marshall — along with Mr. Marshall’s wife — were “inextricably linked.” Mrs. Marshall, who attended the trial every day with her husband, was not charged.

    Mr. Morrissey’s lawyer, Thomas P. Puccio, indicated that he would file an appeal.

    The sentencing followed lengthy speeches by both the prosecution and the defense. One of the prosecutors, Joel J. Seidemann, said that in giving himself the million-dollar salary increase, Mr. Marshall had shown “a sense of entitlement.”

    “He wouldn’t have deigned to go to Mrs. Astor when she was competent and ask for a 208 percent raise,” Mr. Seidemann said. Referring to Mr. Marshall’s service in World War II as he called for prison time, he added: “A Marine Corps tie clasp should not be used as a Monopoly get-out-of-jail card.” One of Mr. Astor’s lawyers, John R. Cuti, after summarizing Mr. Marshall’s life story, said, “He’s not somebody who stuck his hand in the cookie jar when no one was looking.”

    Mr. Marshall was convicted in October after a trial that brought a galaxy of Mrs. Astor’s celebrity friends to Justice Bartley’s courtroom at 100 Centre Street.

    The trial centered on a tangle of codicils to Mrs. Astor’s will that the prosecution said she had signed under pressure from Mr. Marshall. Most prominent among them was a will she signed in 2002 calling for most of her fortune to go to him.

    Mrs. Astor, who all but single-handedly gave away nearly $200 million of her late husband’s money while she was alive, had promised millions more to institutions like the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art on her death.

    Mrs. Astor died in 2007 at 105.

    Even the jurors themselves provided a moment of theater, when they told the judge that one juror had felt “personally threatened by comments made by another juror.”

    The judge ordered the jurors to “hang in there,” denying a defense motion for a mistrial and sending the jurors back with instructions to show “respect and civility.” Some lawyers not involved with the case said the note provided the defense with grounds for an appeal.

    Colin Moynihan contributed reporting.

    Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

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    Contents of Brooke Astor’s homes sell for $18.8M

    By Katherine Clarke
    September 26, 2012

    The contents of Brooke Astor’s homes in New York City and Westchester fetched approximately $18.8 million — nearly as much as the heiress’ Park Avenue duplex itself. Business Week reported on the two-day auction, held at Sotheby’s.

    Nearly 95 percent of the paintings, jewels and books on offer found a home during the auction, the proceeds of which will go to Astor’s favorite charities, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. All of the pieces had been contained within her Park Avenue duplex and Holly Hill country estate in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. The heiress died in 2007 aged 104.

    As previously reported, the philanthropist’s 14-room apartment at 778 Park Avenue sold for $21 million in 2011, about 50 percent less than its original 2008 asking price of $46 million. Holly Hill sold for $6.45 million in December. [Business Week]


    ... The top lot was “A Memlook Bey, Egypt,” an 1868 oil on panel by John Frederick Lewis, which sold for $1.6 million, more than three times its high estimate of $500,000. (The prices include the buyer’s premium; the estimates do not.)

    A drawing by Giovanni Antonio Canal, known as Canaletto, sold for $1.2 million, surging past its presale estimate range of $300,000 to $500,000.

    “The Deer and the Lady, with Punchinello” by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo brought $722,500, also surpassing its high estimate ...

    ... A lot comprising two Chinese famille-rose boxes and covers of the Qianlong period fetched $494,500, almost 50 times the low estimate of $10,000.

    ‘Her Provenance’

    A bronze figure of a six-headed Tibetan deity that was expected to sell for $2,500 to $3,500 went for $134,500 Monday at Sotheby’s ...

    ... A Bulgari diamond necklace featuring 13 emerald drops sold for $686,500. It had a high estimate of $350,000. An enlarged photograph of Astor wearing the necklace while standing next to former President Lyndon B. Johnson at a Plaza Hotel dinner dance was hung in the salesroom, along with photos of Astor and former President Bill Clinton and Princess Diana.

    "A Memlook Bey, Egypt" (1868) by John Frederick Lewis.
    Estimated at $300,000 to $500,000, the oil on panel painting sold for $1.6 million.

    Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

  11. #41


    She understood perfectly that you really can't take it with you.

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