Citing such sketchy precedents as rulings in the cases of Enron’s Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, Bernard Madoff’s legal team filed an appeal at a New York federal court on Friday requesting that their client be released on bail until he is sentenced on June 16.

The Wall Street Journal:

In their filing, Mr. Madoff’s lawyers also argued that other white-collar defendants facing lengthy jail sentences were allowed to stay free on bail pending sentencing — namely former WorldCom Inc. Chief Executive Bernard J. Ebbers; Adelphia Communications Corp. founder John Rigas; and former Enron Corp. top executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling.

“Unlike Mr. Madoff, these defendants avoided prison for years while they awaited trial, sentencing and, in some cases, appeal,” Messrs. Sorkin and Horwitz said. “On the other hand, Mr. Madoff promptly pled guilty and has accepted responsibility for his wrongdoing. Mr. Madoff should, at the very least, receive the same treatment as these convicted defendants — all of whom certainly had an incentive to flee — and should be released pending sentencing.”

Legal experts said it’s unlikely the appellate court would overturn [U.S. District Judge Denny] Chin’s order and release Mr. Madoff, adding the circuit would have to find that the judge abused his discretion in order to continue Mr. Madoff’s bail.

Prior to a conviction at trial or a guilty plea, the burden is on prosecutors to show a defendant isn’t eligible for bail — namely he’s a risk of flight or a danger to the community.

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