June 21, 2013

Brooke Astor's son, 89, sent to prison for plundering estate

Anthony Marshall had been sentenced in 2009 but has exhausted all appeals of his conviction for stealing from his mother, a former summer resident of Northeast Harbor, Maine.

By JENNIFER PELTZ / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Anthony Marshall, Charlene Marshall
click image to enlarge

Anthony Marshall, 89, the son of deceased philanthropist Brooke Astor, is kissed by his wife, Charlene, as he arrives with his attorneys in a New York court on Friday.

The Associated Press

Brooke  Astor
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The late Brooke Astor, who spent summers in Northeast Harbor.

The Associated Press

Additional Photos Below

Their affairs spilled into court in 2006, when Marshall's son Philip accused his father in a civil case of letting Astor live in squalor while helping himself to her fortune. Anthony Marshall denied the claims but agreed to step aside as his mother's guardian.

Those allegations were never substantiated and weren't part of the criminal case. But prosecutors said Marshall exploited his mother's dementia to buy himself a $920,000 yacht and other pricey gifts with her money, take valuable artwork off her walls and engineer changes to her will that benefited him – all of it largely to win the favor of a wife she disliked.

Marshall's lawyers said Astor knowingly changed her will to benefit her only child and that he had legal authority for gifts he gave himself from her money.

Marshall and Francis Morrissey Jr., a former estates lawyer accused of forging Astor's signature on a change to her will, were convicted in 2009. They remained free on bail during appeals until this week; Morrissey, 72, was sent to prison Thursday.

Charlene the wife prosecutors portrayed during the trial as a greedy social climber, sobbed as she accompanied her husband to court Friday. "My heart has been ripped out of my body," she said as she left.

Defense lawyers plan to continue pressing appeals based on a juror's newly sworn statement that she felt threatened into a conviction by a fellow juror's hostile gestures and curses. While the assertions were aired in the unsuccessful appeals so far, the defense lawyers argue reconsideration is warranted.

Marshall's lawyers also say prison could kill him. He suffers from Parkinson's disease, depends on a wheelchair, needs oxygen from a tank at night and can't get out of bed, go to the bathroom or dress himself without help, his doctor has said.

"Incarceration will simply make his final days more tortured and undoubtedly fewer in number. There is truly no just purpose for this punishment," attorneys Kenneth Warner and John Cuti said in a statement Friday.

Marshall, who turned 89 last month, will be the fourth-oldest inmate in New York state prisons, according to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. The oldest, John Bunz, is 93½. He pleaded guilty to killing his wife and was sentenced to 17½ years in prison in 2010.

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Additional Photos

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Anthony Marshall, Brooke Astor's son, center, exits court in Manhattan with wife Charlene in 2009.

2009 Associated Press File Photo

  


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