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WaPost’s The Ticker blog: Madoff says he thought he could get out of it

From the Washington Post’s Ticker blog, which is live posting from the Madoff trial:

The sentencing hearing of confessed multi-billlion-dollar Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff is underway now in Manhattan.

Madoff is now making his statement to the court and began by saying: "I cannot offer you an excuse for my behavior," CNBC is reporting.

He said, "I thought I could get out of it. The harder I tried to get out of it, the deeper the hole. I could not accept for once in my life I had failed. I was responsible for a great deal of suffering and pain. I am in torment….This is a horrible guilt to live with."

Then Madoff, who had had his back to nine of his victims in the court, turned to them and said, "I am sorry. I know that doesn’t help you."

He said: "How can you excuse deceiving a wife of 50 years?…How do you excuse deceiving investors and 200 employees" and lying to his sons.

"I made a terrible mistake," Madoff said, adding that he "left a legacy of shame to my family and my grandchidren."