While the Michael Jackson Estate has been capturing the nation's attention recently, the Brooke Astor trial has been a bit overlooked. For months, it made headlines in New York (and elsewhere to a lesser extent), and for good reason. How often does a multi-multi-millionaire go on trial -- criminally -- for allegedly committing fraud against his own mother by getting her to change the will in his favor? Not only is this rare, it's never happened before to my knowledge.
I discussed the trial of Anthony D. Marshall in this article a few weeks ago. There is some damaging evidence against him, which has caused many people to assume that he'd be found guilty. For example, his mother was diagnosed with dementia/Alzheimer's disease back in 2000 before signing the 2004 amendments to the will which are in question. Marshall even wrote a letter to her doctor about her mental decline which helped lead to the diagnosis.
But, despite this and other evidence (including the testimony of many witnesses who believed Astor wasn't competent and was confused who her son was at times), I believe it is very unlikely that Marshall and his alleged accomplice, attorney Francis X. Morrissey, Jr., will be found guilty on the will-related charges. The larceny and similar criminal charges, unrelated to the will, are another matter.