brookeastor.jpgPeople close to the case of Brooke Astor and the possible mishandling of her estate by her son Anthony Marshall say that they have been contacted by the Manhattan DA's office and told they could expect a grand jury to be convened as soon as September. The grand jury will be investigating whether Marshall fraudulently made changes to his mother's will that enriched him personally, while she was suffering from a state of reduced mental capacity.

The New York Times reports that changes were made to Astor's will in recent years. One change made Marshall the sole executor of her estate, and Marshall followed that move by making his wife and attorney Francis Morrissey Jr. co-executors. A following change (or codicil) was made in March 2004 that transferred ownership of Astor's Maine estate and several million dollars to Marshall. He also sold one of his mother's favorite paintings and collected a $2 million commission on the sale. Astor's court-appointed attorney eventually raised the possibility of a forged signature on the third codicil, and a handwriting expert determined that it was not Mrs. Astor's signature on the document.

Anthony Marshall's own son, Philip Marshall, accused his father of not just mismanaging Brooke Astor's estate to his own benefit, but of subjecting the 105-year-old woman to terrible living conditions, with little heat in the winter and reduced to sleeping on a canine-urine stained couch. Mrs. Astor's own friends and aides were allegedly forced to buy her things like no-skid socks and air purifiers for her home, because her son wouldn't authorize their purchase. He also allegedly told aides not to call 911 if his mother was having a medical emergency without contacting him first.