Lawsuits and motions filed by serial litigants like Jonathan Lee Riches — the most famous one of them all — typically get passed around by the mainstream media for some laughs, and are then quietly dismissed by the judges unfortunate enough to be assigned the cases.
But this time around, a federal judge was apparently duped by a very peculiar motion that was supposedly submitted on behalf of the man he once sentenced to 150 years in prison. Of course, Judge Denny Chin of the Second Circuit must have thought it was odd that Bernard Madoff claimed “bio-electric sensors” and “voice-to-skull technology” were to blame for influencing the legal proceedings against him, but the good judge issued a real order in the case nonetheless.
What else did this wild motion say, and who was behind the filing?
The motion was filed by Frederick Banks, a man who has at least 304 federal lawsuits under his belt. Banks’s lawsuits are easy to spot, because in almost every single one, he mentions this “voice-to-skull technology” that many tinfoil-hat wearers regularly accuse the Central Intelligence Agency of using.
Here, Banks posed as Bernie Madoff, filed a “Motion to Disqualify US Attornies Office and to Dismiss,” forged Madoff’s signature, and included his own signature, purporting to be Madoff’s “litigator legal assistant.” Banks also referred to “US Attornys” and their legal capabilities in the motion.
Judge Chin was quick to dismiss the “rambling one-page motion,” writing that the Faux Madoff’s “argument [was] meritless.” Because Judge Chin responded as if this were a real motion filed by the real Madoff, the New York Post suggests that Judge Chin “may want to hide in chambers for awhile.”
According to Bloomberg’s interview with Ira Sorkin of Lowenstein Sandler, the lawyer who represented Madoff during his felony fraud trial, the motion “doesn’t sound like him”:
“As far as I know he’s of sound mind,” said Sorkin, who said he receives occasional e-mails from his former client, who’s serving his time in a federal prison in North Carolina.
“The document is on the docket. It was duly filed,” said Catherine O’Hagan Wolfe, clerk of the federal appeals court in New York, where Chin now sits. “We rely upon an adversary to object to a filing, or a party to say that something was filed on their behalf that they did not authorize. If the submission is challenged that way, the court will take it up in the usual course.”
Alas, it seems that Bernie Madoff’s lawyers were asleep behind the wheel for this one. Perhaps he’ll be able to get some laughs out of the whole affair from his bunk over at Club Fed.
You can flip to the next page to see both the motion and Judge Chin’s order in all of their glory.