Disgraced money manager Bernard Madoff emerged from seclusion today to confront a potential conflict of interest in his massive fraud case: a $900,000 investment by his lawyer's sons. Prosecutors asked the judge to rule on the conflict to clear the way for another highly anticipated proceeding Thursday, when Madoff is expected to avoid going to trial by pleading guilty in perhaps the largest securities fraud case in history.
Madoff, wearing a bulletproof vest, was brought to a courthouse in lower Manhattan more than three hours early—a move meant to avoid any confrontations with angry investors. At least 25 Madoff investors have asked to speak Thursday under oft-overlooked provisions allowing victims of crime to appear at a defendant's plea hearing. Attorney Jerry Reisman, who represents more than a dozen Madoff investors, predicted that the hearing would be "a zoo."