Yesterday $50 billion thief Bernie Madoff won the right to stay home on house arrest. And the public might not even get the satisfaction of a trial; Bernie is reportedly seeking a plea deal.

Federal prosecutors acknowledged in a court order released Monday that Mr. Madoff’s lawyer, Ira Lee Sorkin, is “engaging in discussions concerning a possible disposition of this case.”

While Mr. Sorkin would not comment, several former prosecutors said that language clearly indicated that the discussions were about a deal in which Mr. Madoff would agree to plead guilty in exchange for some type of leniency.

So the question is: What the fuck does Bernie Madoff have to offer, really? Where is his leverage, besides in his imagination (finance double entendre!). Sure, he could save the government the trouble of trying him. But with one of the biggest scams in history at stake, would a trial not be a valuable thing for the public? If people don't get some measure retribution by seeing Bernie squirm, they're likely to burn his house down, or something, not that we advocate that sort of thing, but if some guy steals millions of bucks from you, you're gonna punch him in the face, metaphorically or otherwise.

Presumably he also knows things that the government would like to know. Does he have money stashed in secret accounts that could be used to partially pay back his debts? Maybe!

And it's hard to believe he'd get any type of sentence that would let him out of jail before he dies (although you never know with a judge this friendly), but he might be able to strike some deal to save his family members and others from sharing the blame with him for the scam. That would be honorable.

Lawyers, run your mouths in the comments. [NYT; pic via]