NY accountant’s lawyer seeks speedy Madoff trial to cope with fading memories of witnesses

NEW YORK, N.Y. – A lawyer for an accounting executive facing charges he aided Bernard Madoff in a massive fraud asked a judge Tuesday for a trial date, saying he wants no delay in getting the case before a jury because aging witnesses may have fading memories.

Attorney Reed Brodsky made the request on behalf of his 77-year-old client, Paul Konigsberg, who was a senior tax partner at the accounting firm Konigsberg Wolf & Co. when prosecutors say he directed others to falsify records to conceal a fraud that cheated thousands of investors out of nearly $20 billion.

U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain refused, saying she’ll consider setting one in January after Brodsky has more time to review evidence and consider pretrial motions aimed at eliminating charges in the indictment against Konigsberg. She promised there would be no delay in the trial due to her own busy trial schedule or the commitments of other parties in the case.

Swain is currently presiding over the Manhattan trial of five former employees of Madoff’s private investment business. That trial is scheduled to last several months.

Brodsky said he was worried about the “difficulty of ensuring we have witnesses with a clear memory” nearly five years after Madoff was arrested and the fraud was revealed. The five-year anniversary Madoff’s arrest is next week.

He also said his client suffered from anxiety and he was worried about its effect on Konigsberg’s physical health.

Konigsberg, of Greenwich, Conn., has pleaded not guilty to charges that he assisted Madoff since at least the early 1990s. Charges of conspiracy to falsify records, conspiracy to commit fraud, falsifying records of a broker-dealer, falsifying records of an investment adviser and falsifying statements were brought against him in September.

Prosecutors said Konigsberg did work for some of Madoff’s most important customers from at least the early 1990s, aiding more than 300 of Madoff’s private securities accounts by December 2008, when Madoff was arrested.

Brodsky has said his Greenwich, Conn., client was himself “a victim of a sociopath,” as he and his family lost over $10 million in the fraud.

The 75-year-old Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence.