In the civil litigation against the Madoff feeder fund Fairfield Greenwich and other related parties, the defendants issued deposition subpoenas to nine current and former SEC employees for the purpose of eliciting testimony showing that, since Madoff successfully deceived the SEC, he could have also deceived the defendants.  In a letter from the SEC posted on the docket today (responding to a letter from the defendants that is not docketed), the SEC explained why it was not authorizing the employees to testify, and urged Magistrate Judge Maas to agree:

The Defendants seek to question current and former staff about examinations and investigations they performed regarding Madoff, but the Defendants have not explained with any specificity why these investigations and examinations have minimal relevance to the issues in the underlying litigation. The Defendants do not contend that the testimony they seek will shed any light on what information the Defendants actually sought, on Madoff or FGG’s response to those efforts, or on whether the Defendants had a duty to seek certain information. Instead, they contend that SEC staff testimony may show what may have happened if the Defendants had made certain inquiries and may show obstacles that could have been present. Such speculative testimony is, at best, of extremely limited relevance and appears to be far more confusing than probative