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Another Mother Stealer From’er- Son of NYC Socialite Astor Could Get 25 Years

Must be something in that New York water besides the ability to make a good bagel. Last week we say James McDermott the notorious porn star fucker burning his mother for a bunch of money.

NEW YORK (AP) — Philanthropist Brooke Astor’s 85-year-old son had it all but wanted more, and now he might have to face his remaining years in a stark prison cell after being convicted of looting his ailing mother’s nearly $200 million estate.

The verdict against Anthony Marshall, a former U.S. ambassador and Tony Award-winning Broadway producer, ended a five-month trial that revealed the sad decline of the society doyenne, who had Alzheimer’s disease when she died in 2007 at age 105.

The jury on Thursday convicted Marshall of 14 counts, including first-degree grand larceny and scheming to defraud, but acquitted him on two charges, falsifying business records and another larceny count.

Marshall faces a mandatory sentence of at least one year behind bars and perhaps as many as 25 years.

His co-defendant, estates lawyer Francis X. Morrissey Jr., was convicted on all five charges against him, including scheming to defraud, conspiracy and forgery, and faces up to seven years in prison.

Marshall looked at the jurors as they were polled. Morrissey, 66, looked down. They will remain free on bail until their Dec. 8 sentencings.

Marshall’s attorney, Frederick Hafetz, said he was stunned and disappointed by the verdict and would appeal.

After the jury left the courtroom, Marshall’s wife, Charlene Marshall, stood at the rail with her hand on his shoulder, her eyes glistening. When reporters asked her for a response, she said only, ”I love my husband,” and gave him a brief hug. The couple walked out of the courthouse, hand in hand, to a waiting limousine.

The trial offered a peek into high society from Park Avenue to Palm Beach as prosecutors told a Dickensian tale of upper-crust money-grubbing with a deteriorating grande dame at its center.

The case put Astor’s famous friends, including Barbara Walters and Henry Kissinger, on the witness stand and her dark final years on display. Jurors heard how a benefactor renowned for her elegance and wit became a disoriented invalid fearful of her own shadow.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Loewy said Marshall ”stole from his mother while she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, making her life worse while enriching his own.”

Marshall was accused of a range of tactics — from scheming to inherit millions of dollars to simply stealing artwork off Astor’s walls. Morrissey was accused of helping manipulate a confused Astor into changing her will to leave Marshall millions of dollars that had been destined for charity.

Jurors rejected only the falsifying business records charge, which alleged Marshall lied to an accountant about $757,000 he got from Astor, and a grand larceny count that concerned the $10 million sale of one of her favorite paintings. Prosecutors claimed Marshall misled his mother about the state of her finances so he could sell the artwork, Childe Hassam’s ”Flags, Fifth Avenue.”

Astor’s last will, created Jan. 30, 2002, left millions of dollars to her favorite charities. Amendments in 2003 and 2004 gave Marshall most of her estate.

Prosecutors portrayed Marshall as a greedy heir who couldn’t wait for his mother to die, buying himself a $920,000 yacht with her money but refusing to get a $2,000 safety gate to keep her from falling.

Defense lawyers said that Astor was lucid when she bequeathed the money to her only child and that he had legal power to give himself gifts while she was alive. They said she was keenly focused on her will and loved her son.

Morrissey, whose convictions include forging Astor’s signature on one of the changes to her will, declined to comment as he left the courthouse. His lawyer said he planned to appeal.

The criminal case against Marshall and Morrissey came after one of Astor’s grandsons asked a court to remove Marshall from handling her affairs.

Philip Marshall accused his father of abusing Astor by letting her live in squalor while he looted her fortune. Anthony Marshall denied the claims but agreed in October 2006 to step aside as his mother’s guardian.

Prosecutors called 72 witnesses, many of whom testified about Astor’s mental confusion in the last years of her life.

Walters described using a photo album to help Astor recall guests at her 100th birthday bash during a visit only months later. Kissinger testified that Astor didn’t recognize former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan at a party she threw for him in 2002.

From – Anthony Marshall had bitter tears in his eyes as the jury pronounced the frail, 85-year-old son of Brooke Astor guilty of plundering his mother’s fortune.

It was hard to watch. Marshall sat stunned, and had to be helped up by his red-faced wife, Charlene, who shouted to reporters, “I love my husband!”

It was she – a woman of humble origins and grand designs – who motivated him to steal from his philanthropist mother as she descended into the hell of Alzheimer’s.

But, of course, this whole sordid saga was the ultimate “Upstairs, Downstairs” story.

Astor’s nurses and chauffeur, her butler and her maids, witnessed the chicanery, and told about it in Judge Kirke Bartley’s courtroom at 100 Centre St., 90 blocks and worlds away from Astor’s Park Ave. aerie.

And a New York jury of teachers, cooks, designers and the unemployed listened intently and decided Marshall had swindled his helpless mother.

Yes, prosecutors Elizabeth Loewy, Joel Seidemann and Peirce Moser brought in bold-faced names – Henry Kissinger, Barbara Walters, Graydon Carter – to say Astor’s mind faded away long before her body.

That, in Astor’s words, she was “going gaga” as Marshall began ladling her $185 million fortune into his trough.

But it was “little people,” as Leona Helsmley derisively described them, who brought him down and set him on a path that could end behind the stone walls of places like Sing Sing or Dannemora.

Housekeeper Angela Moore said that on the same day in 2004 that Marshall and his pal Francis Morrissey had Astor sign a will change shifting $60 million to Marshall, Astor had a paranoid fantasy that they were hiding under her bed. Moore also saw the Marshalls walk out of the house with a $500,000 painting in a shopping bag.

Bookkeeper Lourdes Hilario said Marshall gave himself a $920,000 raise – the exact price tag of his new yacht.

Butler Chris Ely testified that Marshall refused to allow Astor to go to her beloved estate along the Hudson, where in nature, she felt close to God.

Nurse Pearline Noble, who called Charlene “Miss Piggy,” said Astor was “disoriented” the day she changed her will to boost Morrissey’s fees.

After waiting so long, the Iwo Jima vet made an end-of-life grab for what he thought he deserved. But the jurors, after five months out of their own lives, decided Marshall had committed crimes. Fourteen of them.

It’s sad that Charlene, in the words of her friend, artist Richard Osterweil, was likely “the only one who ever really loved him for who he was.”

It seems Brooke Astor, for all the millions she gave New York, didn’t give her only child what he’d always sought – approval.

She was an ambivalent mother at best. In her memoirs “Patchwork Child” and “Footprints,” Astor said Tony was conceived in an act she “didn’t participate in willingly” when she was the teen bride of rich but abusive Husband No. 1, Dryden Kuser.

When rich Husband No. 2 Buddie Marshall thought the nanny was spoiling him, she sent Anthony off to boarding school at age 10. “He was a wretched student,” she wrote.

When she landed moneybags Husband No. 3, Vincent Astor, she wrote, “I saw very little of Tony. I concentrated on Vincent.”

I spoke with Astor once, in the 1990s, at her beloved main library, sitting like a rare orchid in a chiffon hat and crepe de chine suit. She was still coquettish, and her accent was out of a ’20s society movie.

I was struck by her blue-gray eyes, which still had dance in them. I’ve thought often of those eyes, and wondered what she’d think if she could see how her fascinating life, like a colorful, transporting balloon, had landed.

In “Patchwork Child,” which is not in circulation at the library to which she gave $25 million, she wrote, “Life is a lonely game to be played alone.” It’s a pity she didn’t realize that’s true only when it’s about money, and not love.


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