Madoff speaks with Ponzi victims' lawyer

BUTNER, N.C. — After interviewing convicted investment broker Bernie Madoff for almost five hours today, two California lawyers say there were "dumbfounded" by what they described as extreme negligence on the part of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Joseph W. Cotchett and Nancy Fineman talked with Madoff at the federal prison in Butner, where he was brought this month to begin serving his 150-year sentence. Madoff's attorneys also were present.

Cotchett, who has sued members of Madoff's family, feeder funds and accounting firms in an effort to recover some of the millions of dollars lost by their clients, said he and Fineman were interested in knowing what Madoff's associates knew. He said Madoff sought to explain that his family knew nothing about his scheme.

Cotchett said Madoff didn't dodge any question.

"Some answers we didn't like; some answers we liked a lot," Cotchett said. "Madoff was very candid with us, and very remorseful, and gave us a lot of useful information — spelled out how the fraud was committed, when it started."

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