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Madoff Won’t Attend Eldest Son’s Funeral, Lawyer Says

Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Convicted swindler Bernard Madoff, who is serving a 150-year prison term at a prison in Butner, North Carolina, won’t be attending the funeral of his elder son, Mark Madoff, who committed suicide Dec. 11, a lawyer said.

Ira Sorkin, Bernard Madoff’s defense attorney, said his client had decided not to attend the funeral “out of consideration” for his daughter-in-law and his grandchildren’s privacy.

“He will be conducting a private service in the facility where he’s incarcerated,” Sorkin said in a telephone interview.

Mark Madoff, 46, committed suicide two years to the day after his father’s arrest.

He was found at 7:30 a.m. Dec. 11, hanging from a dog leash attached to a pipe in the living room of his Manhattan apartment, while his 2-year-old son slept in an adjoining bedroom, said Paul Browne, a spokesman for the New York City Police Department.

“There are a variety of ways an inmate can go to a funeral,” said Traci Billingsley, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. “Those decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. An inmate can attend a funeral on an escorted or unescorted visit.”

Billingsley said she couldn’t discuss what the Bureau’s determination was in Madoff’s case.

Sorkin declined comment when asked whether Madoff met criterion set by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons for release for a funeral.

Prison Guidebook

Furloughs from federal prison can be granted for “extraordinary” circumstances, including funerals for immediate family, according to Federal Prison Guidebook by Alan Ellis, a criminal defense lawyer, and J. Michael Henderson, a former employee of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

Such furloughs require minimum-security status and a “clear” conduct record, according to the guide.

A Butner inmate, with less than two years to serve and with no history of violence, may apply for temporary release to attend a funeral, according to the Butner facility’s inmate handbook.

Other inmates may apply for funeral visits accompanied by one or two correctional staff. All expenses, after the first eight hours, must be paid for by the inmate.

Visits can be denied where “security concerns about the individual inmate outweigh the need to authorize the visit,” according to the handbook.

According to the Bureau of Prisons website, the prison where Madoff is incarcerated, FCI Butner Medium in North Carolina, is a medium-security facility.

To contact the reporters on this story: Patricia Hurtado in New York at pathurtado@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net.

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