March 12th, 2009
03:18 PM ET

What Madoff said in court

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Michael Schulder
CNN Senior Executive Producer

And so it ended. Just like that. A six-word email that came across our desks at 11:15am:

“Madoff has been remanded to jail.”

There comes a time in many crime stories when the word “alleged” disappears. That’s what happened before lunch today in the Bernard Madoff case. He is no longer the “alleged” mastermind of a Ponzi scheme. He ran it. He admits it. No 'alleged.'

Here's what went down in court - as described in another email by our producers in court:

“The judge has gone over all the charges and the maximum penalties for each with Madoff.

"Madoff has told the judge that he understands the charges that have been brought against him, and that all the charges together could mean a potential maximum penalty of 150 years in prison. (Note: Madoff is 70-years-old—meaning life in prison if maximum was sentenced.)

Courtroom Color: In reaction to some nervous gestures made by Madoff (hand wringing and such) the judge suggested that Madoff pour himself a glass of water.


March 12th, 2009
03:15 PM ET

What should happen to Bernie Madoff?

Editor’s Note: You can read more Jami Floyd blogs on “In Session.”

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Jami Floyd
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

Bernie Madoff admitted Thursday to stealing $65 billion investor dollars. It looks as though there were more than 4000 victims – and we’re not just talking about the rich and famous. There are lots of regular folks who have lost everything.

One guy I know, a lawyer here in New York, had three-quarters of his net worth tied up with Madoff. There’s a South African fellow who came to this country with nothing, worked hard and, over the years, gave a million dollars to Madoff to invest. He’s lost his life savings. There’s a Boston woman who worked for a charitable foundation. It had all of its assets “managed” by Madoff. Now, her job, her entire retirement account and the foundation itself have – poof – evaporated.


Filed under: Finance • In Session • Jami Floyd
March 12th, 2009
12:55 PM ET

Loners, losers – and killers

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James Alan Fox
Special to CNN

Massacre/suicide has become an all too familiar sight on the electronic pages of this and other news sites.

But Tuesday's rampage in Samson, Alabama - with a body count reaching to the double digits - forces us to struggle mightily in search of plausible explanations and effective solutions.

What could have prompted 28-year-old Michael McLendon to shoot to death his mother, grandmother, uncle, cousin and six others - some of whom appear just to have been in the worst place at the worst time - before turning the gun on himself?

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Gun Control • Gun Violence
March 12th, 2009
12:12 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Madoff off to jail

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Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

Bernard Madoff, who stole billions from investment clients, was ordered jailed today after pleading guilty to all 11 criminal counts in one of Wall Street's biggest swindles ever.

"I operated a Ponzi scheme," Madoff told a packed courtroom after U.S. District Judge Denny Chin told him to explain his crimes.

"I thought it would end quickly, but it proved impossible," said Madoff, who stole from more than 4,000 victims through his investment firm. "I am ashamed for these criminal acts. I always knew this day would come."

Judge Chin remanded the 70-year-old to jail following his confession. He could face a maximum 150-year sentence. His sentencing was set for June 16.


Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance • Gas Prices • Oil • Wall St.
March 12th, 2009
10:00 AM ET

Cold case clue in “Rocky” killing

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Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

"OK, I'm gonna tell ya! You had the talent to become a good fighter, but instead of that, you become a leg-breaker to some cheap, second rate loan shark!"

The line is from the movie Rocky. The character speaking it was Mickey Goldmill, the Italian Stallion's gruff and grizzled trainer. Played by Burgess Meredith, the role was based on a real-life boxing legend named Howard Steindler. Known as Howie, Steindler ran Main Street Gym in Los Angeles.

Steindler was a famous figure in the sport. But for over 30 years, it has been his murder that has attracted all the attention. Decades after the crime, the LAPD is still working this cold case, hoping it will be solved.

The date was March 9, 1977. The time, around 7:00pm. At the corner of Lindley Avenue and Killion Street, an eyewitness observed Steindler argue with two men. The confrontation was unfolding just a block from his home.

The suspects beat Steindler. They then grabbed him and pulled him into his own car before driving off. It was the last time Steindler would ever be seen alive. Within an hour, the vehicle was located. Steindler’s body was inside the car. He was murdered and he was robbed.

Thirty-two years later, detectives have a hunch people in the boxing industry may know who killed him. They’re asking for help. There’s also a $50,000 reward for anyone with information that will lead to an arrest and prosecution. And, the LAPD has released photographs of a ring taken from Steindler.

Have a tip? Call 1-877-LAPD-24-7

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
March 12th, 2009
09:45 AM ET

One victim asks: Was it worth it, Mr. Madoff?

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Robert Chew

Was it worth it, Mr. Madoff? You knew all along, but you kept it going, you kept it quiet. You had the ability to end it years ago, you could have saved thousands of loved ones, friends, retirees and charities from financial ruin, but you kept going deeper into the quicksand of your crime, without a struggle, without remorse, as if our lives and yours were just another deal.

We cried like babies that night three months ago when we learned how you robbed us. Did you cry, Mr. Madoff? A thousand, maybe 10,000 cried that night. We shivered in our collective adrenaline-fueled shock. We were physically unhurt, physically just fine, but that night our bodies shook with fear — everything was gone. A minute before the phone rang, things were good, even great. Afterward they would never be the same. All our hard work, all our savings, all our plans were wiped out forever.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Wall St.
March 12th, 2009
09:33 AM ET

Dear President Obama #52: The Capitol Hill dodge ball club

Reporter's Note: The President said if Americans have any ideas on how to run the country, they should let him know. Of course that was some fifty letters ago. Nevertheless, I continue my quest to send a message every day to the White House.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I have a straightforward question, and please believe me when I say I truly mean no offense: Who is running the Democratic Party these days? I feel like I am being routinely astonished by your Congressional colleagues spouting off about the economy in ways that could create some pretty nasty fights for you.

Here you are trying to convince us all that your stimulus plan is going to work, that you have charted a clear course to better days, and that we should be hopeful; and yet some other top Dems are running around hinting that we’re going to need another stimulus… this one won’t be enough. Then some of them come out saying, oh wait, we don’t have plans for anything like that right away. And then others add, yes, but before the end of the year we probably will. Then they blame the media, Bob’s your uncle, and it’s a mess. Yada yada yada.


March 12th, 2009
09:15 AM ET

Some women wanted more from White House

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Josh Gerstein

After Barack Obama’s election, some in the women’s movement thought big – pushing for a Cabinet-level office, or even a blue-ribbon Presidential Commission on Women.

But when Obama announced his plans Wednesday, he brushed aside those requests.

Instead, he started the White House Council on Women and Girls — a sort of inter-agency task force with no full-time staff, no Cabinet-level leader and no set meeting schedule.


Filed under: Raw Politics • Women's Issues
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