Leigh Morse, Gallery Director for Salander-O’Reilly, Sentenced to Four Months of Weekends in Prison

Ms. Morse with her lawyer, after the trial.

The gallery director of the now defunct Salander-O’Reilly gallery will spend weekends in prison for the next four months, a judge ruled earlier today.

Ms. Morse was convicted on one count of scheming to defraud, but Judge Michael Obus — who, on a completely unrelated note is also presiding over the now-derailed trial of Dominique Strauss-Kahn — opted for leniency given that she was not the mastermind behind the gallery’s frauds.

“She had no intention of getting involved in criminal conduct such as this,” the judge said.

I wrote about the trial and the circus it devolved into when the actor Robert De Niro stopped by to testify against Ms. Morse, for the charge that she illegally sold a painting by his father, a noted Abstract Expressionist. Ultimately, Mr. De Niro’s testimony failed to sway the jury – she was acquitted of that major charge.

She will also pay $1.65 million in restitution to her victims, with $1 million of that going to the estate of the Stuart Davis.

“I hope her jail sentencing will send a message to art dealers and their employees that there can be real consequences for unethical behavior,” wrote the artist’s son Earl Davis in an email to The Observer. “It is also a call to artists and artist estates to hold their dealers accountable.”


Updated, 6 p.m. Added the quote from Mr. Davis.