Lawyer says Stanford too drugged to defend himself

TEXAS, United States, Wednesday December 8, 2010 – The latest bail bid by a former billionaire who allegedly carried out a multi-billion dollar fraud through his bank in Antigua has seen his attorney claiming that the accused is too medicated to be of any use to himself in preparation for, or during, his upcoming trial.

Public defender Ali Fazel put forward the argument in documents submitted this week to US District Judge David Hittner who has three times denied bail requests by previous attorneys on the grounds that Stanford is a flight risk.

In this fourth attempt, Fazel identified for the judge a variety of medications and the dosages his client has been taking since a jailhouse beat down by another inmate last September, and the effect they had been having on him.

“These medications have left Mr. Stanford in an unfocused and numbed state of mind,” he said, adding that they have “created a condition where the accused can no longer assist counsel or invoke basic constitutional rights”.

The attorney said, specifically, that the medications cause “tremors of the limbs, diminished range of facial expression, slowness of speech, drowsiness and fatigue” and therefore prevented Stanford from adequately reviewing documents and helping in trial preparation.

He went further to say that the former financier may not even be able to testify at his January 24th trial because of it.

“The accused’s behaviour, manner, facial expressions and emotional responses, or their absence, combine to make an overall impression – an impression that can have a powerful influence on the outcome of the trial,” Fazel said, suggesting that Stanford’s condition could have an impact on the jury.

Although going to great lengths to explain how Stanford’s mental, emotional, and physical health, were “drastically deteriorating in jail”, the defence lawyer gave no indication how his medication would change if he was released.

Fazel took over Stanford’s case in October, along with Robert Scardino, after several attorneys were either fired by the fraud accused or withdrew from the case.

Stanford has been in jail since last year awaiting trial on multiple charges arising out of an alleged fraud which involved the sale of certificates of deposit at his Antigua-based Stanford International Bank.

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