Allen Stanford, the man accused of stealing $7 billion from investors in a Ponzi scheme, wants a two year delay in his trial. But the Justice Department argued this week that’s all his lawyers are trying to do with their request is to get him released from prison in the interim.
The feds said in a court filing that the two year postponement is excessive and that defense lawyers had already filed motions “covering most conceivable legal issues.”
It’s not the government’s fault Stanford switched lawyers in the middle of the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg Costa argued in a filing with U.S. District Court Judge David Hittner.
“Stanford will use a lengthy continuance to further what appears to be his only goal in this case: obtaining pretrial release,” Costa said.
From the filing:
Approximately ten million dollars has been spent on Stanford’s defense, Stanford’s defense has already filed a plethora of motions covering most conceivable legal issues, and the prosecution’s “hot document” productions and civil insurance coverage hearing provide a sufficient narrowing of the discovery relevant to key issues in this case to render a date far sooner than two years reasonable.
A two-year continuance, argued DOJ, “is also inconsistent with the public’s interest in a speedy trial, as well as Stanford’s interest in a speedy trial which he claims in a pending appeal was already violated with the January 2011 date.”
The feds also said in the filing that, while defense lawyers have argued the delay is warranted because the charges against Stanford involve over 100 companies, the indictment is really only focused on one business: Stanford International Bank.
“The numerous other Stanford entities, such as his airlines, cricket-promotion company, and yacht-funding business, come into play only because Stanford diverted billions of dollars of investors money to those companies while telling investors that their money was being invested in liquid, marketable securities,” Costa writes. “But the detailed operations and finances of those entities are not a part of this case.”
As the Associated Press reports:
Hittner has scheduled a status conference for Thursday on claims from Stanford’s lawyers, following an examination by a psychiatrist they selected, that their client is not competent to stand trial. Hittner, acting on a government request, authorized a second competency exam for Stanford. Results were ordered sealed.
Psychiatrists and prison officials were expected to appear at the Thursday hearing to help Hittner decide if Stanford should undergo further observation or move forward with trial.
Stanford, who has served as a DEA informant, was indicted back in 2009. But U.S. diplomats were onto Stanford’s shenanigans long before the FBI and the SEC got on the case, as a WikiLeaks cable revealed.
Attorneys for Stanford argued that his “drastically deteriorating” mental, emotional and physical health prevents him from helping prepare for his trial, which was set to begin later this month.
DOJ’s latest court filing below.