Astor trial again delayed

Brooke Astor estate looting trial again delayed
Lou Ann Anderson
July 8, 2009
Anthony Marshall, the 85-year-old son of the late New York philanthropist Brooke Astor, once again caused his estate looting trial to be delayed after allegedly suffering a dizzy spell and falling inside a courthouse men’s room.  Marshall phoned in sick for yesterday’s proceedings and has missed court due to health concerns on two other occasions during the 11-week trial.

Marshall and estate planning attorney Francis Morrissey are on trial for using undue influence to prompt a dementia-ridden Brooke Astor into signing over her $185 million estate to Marshall in lieu of the charities for whom she had long intended to be her estate beneficiaries.

After three months of testimony consistently describing Anthony Marshall’s blatant use of Brooke Astor’s failing health and obviously diminished capacity for his personal self-enrichment efforts, irony abounds as Marshall’s attorneys expect major deference from the court with regard to their own client’s health status.

Meanwhile, exploitative activities similar to those directed toward Brooke Astor and her estate are quietly occurring across this country but with estates of more modest values.  Estates of $500,000 to $1 million can provide an especially appealing “sweet spot” for modern day grave robbers and property poachers.

Brooke Astor will always be remembered as a fixture of New York society and a dedicated philanthropist.  Being an Involuntary Redistribution of Assets (IRA) target was unexpected, but oddly, will be an additional legacy that hopefully helps to warn many Americans of the threat potentially facing their own final distribution of assets.

Lou Ann Anderson is an advocate working to create awareness regarding the Texas probate system and its surrounding culture.  She is the Online Producer at and a Policy Advisor with Americans for Prosperity – Texas.  Lou Ann may be contacted at