Ruth Madoff unburdens her soul. Does everybody feel better now?

Yesterday, following Bernie Madoff's sentencing hearing, his wife Ruth Madoff released a statement in which she tried to firmly separate herself from her husband. "Like everyone else, I feel betrayed and confused," Mrs. Madoff wrote, claiming that she had no prior knowledge of her husband's crimes. According to Mrs. Madoff, upon her discovery of his actions, she decided that "my life with the man I have known for over 50 years was over."

The success of this move, the latest in her attempts to distance herself from her scofflaw spouse, hinges on the question of integrity and ethics. If the public believes in Mrs. Madoff's integrity, then it's completely acceptable that she got off pretty much scot free; if not, then she becomes further evidence of the cracks in the American legal system, which has allowed her to keep $2.5 million in cash under an asset forfeiture agreement she and Bernie Madoff reached with prosecutors.