Gillers talks to about new development in Madoff case

Gillers talks to about the possible implications of defense lawyers's past family stake in Madoff investments

Ira Sorkin, who is representing fallen financier Bernard Madoff, may have a conflict of interest. Sorkin's late father had invested his retirement money with Madoff, who faces as much as 20 years in prison if convicted of propagating a $50 billion Ponzi scheme. The Sorkin family cashed out in 2007, with the proceeds going to the defense attorney's sons.

Stephen Gillers, Emily Kempin Professor of Law, told on February 13 that this involvement could compromise any outcome of a court case unless Madoff signs a waiver, and even then, questions could arise. Sorkin says he doesn't see any conflict.

The government “wants to have an air-tight conviction if it gets one,” Gillers said. “They should be finding out the amount and insisting on an appropriate and informed consent from Madoff to protect any conviction they get. Sometimes, when a defendant waives a conflict and accepts a lawyer who would otherwise be conflicted--and is then convicted--the defendant comes back to court” claiming that their defense was somehow compromised."