Defense Lawyer Fights Back With Astor Jewels

Pal accepted gifts of bling from woman she says was senile
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2009 7:53 AM CDT
Philanthropist Brook Astor arrives at the premiere of the film 'Nicholas Nickleby' December 17, 2002 in New York City, New York.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – When it comes to bling, “Brooke Astor makes Ludacris look like a rank amateur,” writes Joanna Molloy of the New York Daily News. Defense lawyer Ken Warner put those jewels center stage yesterday, questioning Annette de la Renta, a key prosecution witness, on why she accepted a $100,000 necklace from Astor in December 2001 when she, according to her earlier testimony, had found Astor confused and senile in her reaction to 9/11.

“You felt completely comfortable accepting that piece of jewelry?” Warner asked. De la Renta said she did. Warner produced the necklace, which de la Renta described as “a gold chain sprinkled with diamonds,” as evidence. “If those diamonds were ‘sprinkles,’ I’d love to see hailstones,” writes Molloy. The point was clear: If Astor knew what she was doing when she gave the jewelry to de la Renta, why couldn't she have just as knowingly showered wealth on her accused son?