New York Times reporter Diana Henriques is just one of two reporters who have been allowed to interview Bernie Madoff at North Carolina's Butner Federal Correctional Complex where he's serving a 150 year sentence. She joined Morning Joe today to discuss her new book "Wizard of Lies," which focuses, in part, on what Henriques' gleaned from the two prison interviews with Madoff.
If you're like me, perhaps one of the more interesting facets of this story has less to do with the $50 billion Ponzi scheme (which, of course, is THE story, but still..) than wondering whether or not this this man cracked in the least since he's gone to prison. Has his, at best, disturbingly blank and, at worst, ghoulish visage finally shown some signs of awareness?
Henriques says that it has.
"He was shattered," Henriques says. "He'd lost a great deal of weight. He was disheveled. His collar was oddly pressed, and there was a button unbuttoned on his shirt that he didn’t notice until about an hour into our interview, which was very much unlike the very dapper Bernie Madoff of old."
Henriques goes on to say: "In the first visit he was very focused on the dollars and cents of his crime. Very much an arithmetic calculation. Nothing to do with the suicide, the broken families, the lost homes – the real human content of the tragedy that he had caused. When I returned in February, I got a sense that was perhaps beginning to bear down on him because of the degree to which he was totally blindsided by the damage to his own family."
As Madoff's assets continue to be auctioned off, as his wife attempts to live outside of her husband's long shadow, and he remains incarcerated for the next 148 years, it's interesting to think of the seemingly unrepentant Madoff having a truly human moment of sadness and despair.