Bernie Madoff's lawyers asked the court Wednesday for compassionate release, arguing thathas end-stage renal disease and has been given less than 18 months to live. Without compassionate release, Madoff's sentence would not end until 2139, according to the Bureau of Prisons.
"Madoff does not dispute the severity of his crimes nor does he seek to minimize the suffering of his victims. Madoff has expressed remorse for his crimes," his lawyers wrote in a motion. "Now, after over ten years of incarceration and with less than 18 months to live, Madoff humbly asks this Court for a modicum of compassion."
The court filing comes after the Bureau of Prisons rejected Madoff's earlier request for compassionate release.
The BOP would not discuss Madoff's illness or his appeal, citing privacy concerns. But in their court filing, Madoff's lawyers included a letter from Ken Hyle, the Assistant Director of the Bureau's General Counsel's office, in which Hyle acknowledges Madoff's illness as detailed in a medical summary. That report was submitted by a physician's assistant and reviewed by a prison doctor as part of Madoff's bid to reduce his sentence.
"He has chronic kidney failure that has progressed to end stage renal disease," the summary said. "At this level of renal failure, the kidneys can no longer filter body waste. He has refused dialysis."
Despite the diagnosis, Hyle rejected the request, writing, "in light of the nature and circumstances of his offense, his release at this time would minimize the severity of his offense."
Lawyers for Madoff disagreed with his determination, arguing that Madoff's case meets the standard for a sentence reduction.
In 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to securities fraud that cost investors $65 billion. The mastermind of the largest Ponzi scheme in history, Madoff effectively wiped out thousands of Americans' life savings.
But his lawyers argued Wednesday that he was no danger to the public and could not commit similar crimes again.
"The highly public nature of Madoff's crimes and the SEC's ban prohibit him from engaging in any financial or investment-related activities in the future," the lawyers wrote. "His remaining months on earth will be spent receiving palliative care and managing the symptoms of his terminal illness—he will not be participating in any fraudulent investment schemes."