News

Split Verdict For Ex-Salander Art Gallery Director In Fraud Case Involving De Niro’s Dad

View Comments
Robert DeNiro Sr.

Robert DeNiro Sr. (Photo/ RobertDeNiroSr.com)

corn_feature Irene Cornell
Irene Cornell has been a reporter at WCBS for 40 years, and she still...
Read More

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A former New York City art gallery director has been convicted in an art fraud case that brought actor Robert De Niro to the witness stand.

Leigh Morse was found guilty Wednesday of scheming to defraud. WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reports Morse was acquitted of a more serious charge of grand larceny.

WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell with the details of the case

Morse worked for now-imprisoned gallery owner Lawrence Salander. He pleaded guilty last year to bilking about $120 million from clients, including the estate of De Niro’s artist father.

His Academy Award-winning son testified against Morse last month. She was accused of selling two of the late Robert De Niro Sr.’s abstract paintings for $77,000 without passing on any of it to the famous actor who administers his dad’s estate.

De Niro Sr. was a prominent artist with a myriad of works.

The actor conceded on the witness stand that he didn’t pay much attention to what was happening to his father’s paintings.

“I wasn’t watching as carefully as I probably should have” early in the estate’s involvement with gallery owner Lawrence Salander,” De Niro said. But “I trusted Larry implicitly. I thought that anything that he did, it was going to be good.”

De Niro testified that he is the sole owner of his father’s large art collection and as such is entitled to get paid for the work that is sold.

Morse’s lawyer said she had nothing to do with Salander’s crimes.

The 55-year-old Morse could face up to four years in prison. Her sentencing is June 3.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View Comments