Anthony Marshall, left, in 2009. He was ordered to report to court Friday… (Louis Lanzano / Associated…)
NEW YORK - Anthony Marshall, the son of the late socialite and philanthropist Brooke Astor, was ordered to report to court Friday to begin serving time for looting his mother's estate after a judge refused to grant a new trial to the 89-year-old.
It was the latest twist in a case that began in 2006 and came to a head in October 2009, when a jury convicted Marshall of charges that could have sent him to prison for at least 25 years. Instead, he received a sentence of one to three years.
His lawyers have argued that any time behind bars could prove a death sentence to the frail Marshall, and they have managed to keep him out of prison by appealing the conviction on grounds that one of the jurors claimed intimidation.
Superior Court Judge A. Kirke Bartley said Thursday that the juror's claims did not convince him that Marshall deserved a new trial.
Marshall was convicted after a trial that shined a spotlight on the soap-opera-like world of New York's social royalty. The trial unfolded at the height of the recession and drew members of the public, who listened as rich and sometimes famous witnesses described dinners at which lavish jewels were handed out as party gifts, in homes decorated with multimillion-dollar works of art.
Evidence included gold and diamond necklaces passed among the jurors to view up-close, and video of Astor's 100th birthday party featuring a variety of cakes designed to look like the Easter bonnets that Astor adored.
After listening to four months of testimony and deliberating for 11 days, the jury convicted Marshall of 14 counts, including grand larceny involving the theft of cash and art, possession of stolen property, and conspiracy to defraud his mother.
Astor, who died in 2007 at age 105, was known for her lavish giving to New York's most venerable institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Public Library, as well as universities and hospitals.
The trial pitted members of the Astor clan against one another. Seven years ago, Astor's grandson, Philip Marshall, accused Anthony -- his father -- of letting Astor live in squalor in an unheated, dirty Park Avenue apartment while he pilfered her estate. A judge removed Anthony Marshall as his mother's legal caretaker and replaced him with her longtime friend, Annette de la Renta, the wife of fashion designer Oscar de la Renta.
This month, one of the trial jurors claimed she had been bullied by others to vote guilty. Other jurors denied the allegation, which prompted the defense to call for a new trial.
Estate attorney Francis X. Morrissey Jr. was convicted of five counts in the same trial, the most serious of them forgery for altering Astor's will.
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