In a surprise move, the prosecution in the Brooke Astor trial rested its case, according to the New York Times. The trial has now been front page news in New York for three months.  The trial of  Ms. Astor’s son Anthony Marshall and his attorney Francis X Morrissey for allegedly forging a codicil to her will has had countless  twists and turns. Marshall and Morrissey are facing a total of 22 charges of conspiracy, scheming to defraud, larceny and forgery. This is enough to keep a battalion of lawyers busy at a cost of over $100,000 per week.

We have seen  allegations of elder abuse of the 105 year old socialite and there has been extensive testimony as to the acrimonious relationship between Ms. Astor and her daughter in law Charlene Marshall. Attorney Francis Morrissey’s wining and dining of rich, elderly widows who often left him valuable pieces of art or substantial bequests is reminiscent of Zero Mostel’s forays into "Little Old Ladyland" in "The Producers"! The jury has seen and heard a veritable Who’s Who  of A-list witnesses including  Henry Kissinger and Barbara Walters  and Annette De La Renta. Last week, the fore lady of the jury was mugged on the subway in front  of two fellow jurors who came to her aid.

With all of this hoopla, it may come as some surprise that the  Times reports that in addition to trying the defendants, the patience of the court and the jurors also appears to have been on trial. This trial has gone on far longer than anyone would have expected. There have lengthy rulings over seemingly ridiculous objections such as a fifteen minute hiatus to determine whether or not "How Much Is That Doggie In The Window" could be characterized as a children’s song! Jurors are becoming visibly bored in the courtroom (one wonders how they are feeling about putting their lives on hold for a whopping forty dollars a day while the trial drones on ).

There is concern as to whether or not the trial has gone on so long and has become so boring that jurors are losing interest. Some legal observers have voiced the opinion that the case has been overtried by the prosecutors and the result is to simply deluge the jurors with such a volume of testimony and information that they are beginning to forget what they have heard. This is obviously the reason for the sudden decision of the prosecution to rest — but has it come too late to save their case?  Keeping in mind  that the prosecution has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the advantage may well have shifted to the defense.

Now there will be defense motions to dismiss. Assuming these motions are denied, the defense is about to have its day. Or days. Or perhaps weeks and months!