This morning, Bernard Madoff's close relatives continued their PR push to declare their ignorance of the multi-billion Ponzi scheme that ruined thousands of investors' lives. Ruth Madoff and son Andrew Madoff appeared on the Today Show (last night was the big 60 Minutes interview) to promote the new book about the lies, Truth and Consequences, which was conceived by Andrew's fiancee Catherine Hooper, who happens to be the one getting royalties from the sales. Andrew Madoff said, "I'll never forgive him... There's no way to explain what he did, the damage he has caused. What possible explanation could there be?"
Andrew Madoff and his brother Mark did turn their father into authorities in December 2008. Their father was famously sentenced to 150 years in prison for his scheme, but the brothers, nor Ruth Madoff, were ever charged. However, the trustee charged with getting money to the victims claims that Andrew and Mark Madoff each took around $60 million from their father's company to fund lavish lifestyles (the trustee also says their uncle and cousin also took tens of millions). The pressure of these allegations apparently caused Mark Madoff to commit suicide last December.
Andrew Madoff told Matt Lauer, "From the beginning we have not really been able to speak. We were so vilified by the tabloids." But he admits, "I completely understand the way people feel." Ruth Madoff said on 60 Minutes that in spite of claims that she knew what was happening, "I was never the bookkeeper after 1963." And she said, "Of course I feel the shame. I can barely walk down the street without worrying about people recognizing me."
The Daily Beast's Michael Daly is not impressed with the Madoffs' sudden honesty:
When they finally broke their public silence nearly three years after the arrest, they said precious little about the victims, but spoke with great sympathy of themselves. They told us how hard all of this has been for them, and insisted they were blameless and knew nothing of Bernie Madoff’s crimes.
“From the very beginning of this whole episode, I‘ve had absolutely nothing to hide,” Andrew Madoff told 60 Minutes. “And I’ve been eager, I would say almost desperate to speak out publicly and tell people that I’m absolutely not involved.
In truth, there was never anything to stop him from speaking out. He is doing so now to promote a book, Truth and Consequences, shepherded by his fiancée, Catherine Hooper. The book was to have hit the bookstores in November, but the date was moved up—because Stephanie Madoff Mack, the wife of the elder son, Mark, has just released a book of her own. The End of Normal details her husband’s suicide by dog leash and suggests Andrew sought to stop her from writing a book without telling her he was doing one of his own.
Ruth Madoff told the NY Times that she cut her ties with Bernard after their son Mark killed himself: "After his suicide attempt in October 2009, Mark Madoff had begged her to walk away from his father. But she didn’t act quickly enough, she said. On Dec. 10, 2010, the second anniversary of his father’s arrest, Mark Madoff hanged himself... Mrs. Madoff said she was 'haunted' by her failure to act soon on her older son’s appeals. 'I had no idea it affected Mark so brutally,' she said, tears spilling over."