Stanford losses latest bid to delay fraud trial
HOUSTON, United States, Friday December 30, 2011 - U.S. District Judge David Hittner has denied Allen Stanford’s request to have his fraud trial delayed by three months paving the way for jury selection to proceed January 23.
“The public's interest in a speedy trial is particularly acute in such a case as this in which thousands of investors allegedly purchased CDs from Stanford under false pretenses and subsequently lost billions of dollars,” the judge said in his eight-page ruling.
“This trial will decide not just whether Stanford is guilty of the criminal charges, but also whether hundreds of millions of dollars of investor funds currently frozen may be forfeited and returned to his alleged victims.”
Stanford’s attorneys have argued that their client would not have sufficient time to review millions of papers in time for the trial.
Following the ruling, Ali Fazel, Stanford’s lead lawyer maintained that stance stating, “Our ability to defend our client has been consistently limited by matters the court is well aware of…we are now reviewing our options.”
“…The defense in this case does not merely require knowledge of one company as the government contends, but rather, depends upon knowledge of the finances and operations,” he added.
Prosecutors said a further delay would not be fair to thousands of Stanford investors.
The judge ruled a week ago that Stanford, 61, is mentally competent to aid his own defense.
The former financier was previously found to be incapable of doing so because of addiction to anxiety medications developed after a head injury suffered in a prison fight.
He was indicted in June 2009 on charges he masterminded a US$7 billion Ponzi scheme by selling bogus certificates of deposit at his Antiguan bank.
The former financier has denied all wrongdoing.