Observers overseas and here at home must be quite puzzled by the American justice system.
After all, Bernard Madoff, accused by the U.S. government of the biggest financial fraud in U.S. history, is free on bail, spending his days in his $7 million luxury Manhattan penthouse.
True, he has guards hired by his wife and is monitored.
But U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Ellison allowed Madoff to remain free on $10 million bail. Some say that's because Madoff might be more inclined to talk if comfortable in his own home.
Madoff's many victims include some well-known names to the American public, including Zsa Zsa Gabor, who reportedly lost $10 million, Larry King, Kevin Bacon and his wife Kyra Sedgwick, a charity linked to director Steven Spielberg and his DreamWorks partner Jeffrey Katzenberg, and screenwriter Eric Roth, whose films include The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Questions that must occur to many people, besides just those who perhaps contributed to the $50 billion reportedly lost in Madoff's Ponzi scheme:
– How come a guy who admits he's ruined thousands of people's lives gets better handling than a purse snatcher?
– If mailing essentially stolen goods off to friends isn't a violation of his bail, what would be?
– Wouldn't a little time in jail be even more likely to help loosen his tongue, now that he's said to have stopped cooperating?
– Don't interrogators usually show leniency with what they call the little fish to get to the big fish?
If so, what deal could they possibly make with the biggest swindler of all?