The U.S. Attorney's office suggested in a brief court filing that the money manager is ready to waive an indictment. Such language is often used when plea deals are near.
The timing of a possible plea deal is unclear, and no court hearings were immediately scheduled. Prosecutors have a deadline of next Friday to bring an indictment against Madoff under the speedy-trials law.
The filing was the latest sign pointing toward a possible plea deal with Madoff, who has been confined to his Manhattan penthouse since his arrest in December. Madoff has never contested the allegations and recently surrendered millions of dollars in major assets, actions that typically precede plea deals.
Investigators have spent the last three months trying to untangle Madoff's complicated financial operation while attempting to return what is left of his assets to investors who lost billions. Madoff's cooperation could be key to explaining the mysteries and intricacies of his business, and also explain if others were involved in the fraud.
Daniel J. Horwitz, a Madoff defense lawyer, would only say that "we've waived the right to indictment and the case will proceed by information."
Typically, a defendant is brought before a judge, waives indictment and enters a guilty plea the same day to a charging document known as an "information." It resembles an indictment but is brought by prosecutors rather than a grand jury.
Prosecutor's spokeswoman Rebekah Carmichael declined to comment.
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