Brooke Astor

Brooke Astor:

The elderly son of philanthropist Brooke Astor was sentenced Monday to as many as three years in prison for exploiting her mental frailty to plunder her millions.

Anthony D. Marshall, 85, showed little emotion as state Supreme Court Justice A. Kirke Bartley Jr. imposed the minimum sentence, one to three years.

gave away nearly $200 million to institutions and charities before she died at age 105 in 2007.

Marshall will remain free for at least the next month as his lawyers try to persuade an appeals court to let him remain free on bail during his appeal.

The judge noted Marshall's World War II service -- he was wounded while leading a Marine platoon in the battle of Iwo Jima -- and the possibility that Astor would have been aghast to see her son imprisoned, but added that the law left him no choice.

He gave Marshall until Jan. 19 to provide medical information to prison officials and otherwise prepare for life behind bars.

Marshall declined to speak at his sentencing, where prosecutors described him as an unrepentant thief who deserved punishment.

His lawyers portrayed him as a dutiful son who believed his mother wanted him to have the money and items he was convicted of stealing.

Co-defendant Francis X. Morrissey Jr., 67, an estate lawyer convicted of helping Marshall steal his mother's money, was also sentenced Monday to one to three years in prison.

Morrissey also will remain free until Jan. 19 and plans to appeal.

Marshall faced as many as 25 years in prison after being convicted of 14 counts, including grand larceny and scheming to defraud, for looting millions from his mother's fortune. She suffered from Alzheimer's disease.

Marshall's Oct. 8 conviction followed a five-month trial in which Manhattan prosecutors brought in such prominent Astor friends as Barbara Walters and Henry Kissinger to help make their case.

A fight over Astor's estate continues in civil court, pitting Marshall against several charities. It was on hold during the criminal case.

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