Attorneys: Madoff "Distraught" in Prison

Convicted Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff is having a tough time adjusting to prison life in North Carolina, according to two attorneys representing victims.

Joseph Cotchett and Nancy Fineman, who visited Madoff in a Butner, N.C. prison earlier this week, came away from the meeting with the impression that the former Wall Street bigwig was "distraught" in his new environment - not surprising since the medium security facility probably lacks the luxuries of Manhattan penthouses or Palm Beach estates.

"The first thing you notice is he's not wearing a Brooks Brothers suit. He's wearing tan prison garb … and a pair of tennis shoes he had to buy. It's not the usual Wall Street outfit you would imagine him to be in," Cotchett said on CBS' "The Early Show" Thursday.

Cotchett said Madoff appeared "gaunt" in his new home.

"Look, it's a prison. He's suffering the immediate throes of being thrust into this. It's a new world to him. It's not pleasant, as it shouldn't be. The man is distraught."

Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence in medium security federal prison - the maximum penalty for the multi-billion fraud he pleaded guilty to in March.

"I think it hasn't quite hit him completely. He's having a hard time coming to grips," Fineman said, adding that Madoff's blood pressure was high and his ankles appeared swollen.

Despite the rough adjustment, Madoff told the attorneys that his fellow inmates were treating him like a celebrity.

"According to him they're constantly asking him for autographs. He's the biggest swindler in the country thrust in with a lot of people that have never seen the kind of money he was in touch with every day," Fineman said.

Besides their physical impressions of Madoff, the pair said they also walked away from the meeting with new information that might be helpful in helping their clients recoup some of the money Madoff bilked from them.

"We asked questions for four and a half hours, and he gave us a lot of facts. You know, we learned a lot of new things and confirmed things and we will follow up on a lot he told us," Fineman said.

Cotchett used the "Early Show" interview to take another shot at Securities and Exchange Commission for failing to detect the massive fraud.

"They should have had this guy behind bars 10 to 15 years ago, and they blew it each and every time they interviewed him."
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