The Astor trial, which began on April 27th, heads into its sixth month in September. Justice Kirke Bartley Jr. gave the long-suffering jurors a two week vacation in August, and the trial will resume on September 8th. Tony Marshall and Francis Morrissey’s lawyers are now presenting their defense, with a few more witnesses scheduled. Closing arguments are likely to be the week of September 15th, but this case has dragged on so long that all dates are purely speculative.
Whatever the verdict, Tony Marshall’s legal troubles will not end. As soon as the criminal case is resolved, proceedings will resume in Westchester Surrogate’s Court in the battle over probating Mrs. Astor’s estimated $185-million estate. Lawyers from the Metropolitan Museum and other beneficiaries have been frequent visitors to Room 1536 at 100 Centre Street, watching the criminal trial. At issue in the probate fight is whether Brooke Astor’s 2002 will and its three codicils, under which Tony Marshall is entitled to a very large portion of his mother’s estate, is upheld, or whether the court decides to return to Mrs. Astor’s 1997 will, which leaves more to her favorite charitable institutions. So it will be new courtroom: same characters.