On the heels of his daughter-in-law's damning memoir and his wife's interview with 60 Minutes, Bernard Madoff is effectively in the midst of a PR blitz, since he's granted an exclusive interview with Barbara Walters. ABC News reports, "He said he is relieved to be free from years of fear he'd be discovered as a fraud and finally has overcome thoughts of suicide. Repeatedly throughout the interview he told Walters that he was guilty of the crimes that put him in prison, saying 'I deserved to be punished. I deserved to go to jail.'"
Madoff is currently serving a 150-year sentence for his multi-billion Ponzi scheme, which unraveled in 2008. The former Park Avenue resident explained, "I feel safer here than outside. Days go by. I have people to talk to and no decisions to make. ... I know that I will die in prison. I lived the last 20 years of my life in fear. Now I have no fear -- nothing to think about because I'm no longer in control of my own life." Also, "I understand why clients hate me. The gravy train is over. I can live with that... The average person thinks I robbed widows and orphans. I made wealthy people wealthier."
He confirmed that he hasn't spoken to wife Ruth since a final meeting after their son Mark killed himself in December 2010: "Madoff told Walters that his wife used to visit him at the prison weekly and they spoke on the phone daily. In order to visit Butner, N.C., Ruth Madoff would drive 12 hours alone, stay at a motel overnight and drive 12 hours back to Florida, which was hard on her." Madoff agreed to "let [Ruth] go" but "Ruth not communicating is the hardest thing. Ruth doesn't hate me. She has no-one. It's not fair to her. She lost her first son. ... She is a devoted wife and didn't care about the money."