We had been camped out here at the federal courthouse for two days now waiting for Bernie Madoff. We thought he'd almost certainly be here at 2 p.m. ET for a bail hearing today. But then he made bail this morning and the word was that there'd now be no need for him to come down here. The hearing was canceled.
Then, out of the blue, we got word from WNBC reporter Jonathan Dienst that he got a tip Madoff was in the courthouse. He (Madoff) slipped in somehow with no one noticing despite the gaggle of photographers and reporters outside.
We dispatched my producer and an intern up to the clerk's office on the fifth floor where they found Madoff sitting down and surrounded by a handful of court security officers. That's unusual. They even kicked our people out of the clerk's office!
Dienst sent an update that Madoff might be leaving within 10 minutes.
We manned our positions at two entrances. I thought that maybe for security reasons, they'd drive him out of the underground parking garage.
Minutes later I see a black Acura SUV with Connecticut plates pull up out front. I think to myself that it might be Madoff's ride.
Fortunately our camera guy kept his lens trained on the courthouse door and recognized Madoff even in his "Seinfeld-style" get-up.
I got wise, jumped in with my questions and microphone. He tried to close the door on my arm. Oh well. Exclusive sound. Adrenaline pumped.
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