For “20/20” anchor Chris Cuomo, the story of Bernie Madoff is a complex one, with a resonating message.
“Madoff became the face of the animosity toward what was perceived, what still is perceived, as a corrupt financial system,” Cuomo tells TVNewser. “After 2008 there became an engrained sense among many that there are two sets of rules, that there is a dirty game afoot when it comes to the wealthy and Wall Street.”
Cuomo was highly aware of Madoff’s reputation during a recent sit-down with his daughter-in-law, Stephanie Madoff Mack, in her first interview since the December suicide of her husband, Mark Madoff. By all accounts, Cuomo says, Mack was innocent of any wrongdoing, and she is now left picking up the pieces of a shattered life.
“This is a difficult form of journalism,” he says. “This is a love story wrapped up in a news story, and that’s tricky to tell, because there is a really deep bond between these two people, Stephanie and Mark. So telling that story, while remembering that this is also a window into a situation that affected thousands, is tricky. It involves a lot of sophisticated storytelling.”
Cuomo says the interview will unearth a new layer of the Madoff tale, one that has gone unshared and unknown.
“What will be surprising and shocking will be what you will think of her,” he says. “What you will learn about what Mark Madoff’s connection to his father’s business was, what he went through, how he felt about the victims, the role of the Madoff family in the undoing of Mark Madoff.
“Stephanie didn’t have to be bribed to tell the story,” Cuomo continues. “This wasn’t about her becoming a name in her own right after this. Today we see so many people who want to become celebrities through tragedy. What was nice about this was that Stephanie is just coming forward because she wants people to hear her, and her husband’s, version of what their life has been. It’s as pure and as simple as that.”
Cuomo’s interview airs tomorrow night on “20/20”; Mack will also be interviewed on “Good Morning America” on Monday.