Defense lawyers skewer Ponzi king Madoff at NY fraud trial of 5 former employees

Lawyers for five people charged with fraud in New York have many things to say about their former employer, Bernard Madoff — mostly bad.

The lawyers spoke Thursday to jurors hearing the first criminal trial to result from the 5-year-old revelation of Madoff's historic fraud.

They said Madoff was too secretive and manipulative to let employees in on his crimes. The lawyers said their clients knew nothing of a fraud that cost thousands of investors billions of dollars.

They called Madoff a Wall Street icon, a control freak, a great liar, a genius manipulator, and private and secretive.

Defendants include Madoff's longtime secretary, his director of operations, an account manager and two computer programmers. A prosecutor says they were crucial to the fraud.

After a break Friday, testimony will begin Monday.