Authenticity of Astor signature questioned

July 1, 2009 at 1:27 PM
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NEW YORK, July 1 (UPI) -- A former maid of U.S. socialite Brooke Astor's says she suspects her late employer did not actually sign a document that benefits her son, Anthony Marshall.

Testifying at Marshall's New York fraud trial, Lia Opris, 63, said her former employer likely did not sign the document March 3, 2004, several months before the socialite was severely injured when she was struck by a car, the New York Daily News said Tuesday.

"They looked kind of pale, the letters, as if the pen was running out of ink," Opris, who worked for Astor from April 2003 until the socialite's accident in December 2004, said of the signature on a codicil that benefited Marshall and his co-defendant, attorney Francis Morrissey.

"I remember the signature," she added. "I thought at the time to myself the letters might fade. The letters, bigger than usual, looked funny."

The Daily News said Marshall, 85, and Morrissey, 66, stand accused of stealing money from the wealthy socialite by taking advantage of her Alzheimer's disease before her death in 2007.

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