Lawyers for Allen Stanford say the billionaire allegedly Ponzi schemer is addicted to an anti-anxiety medication and needs to be released from prison and sent to an upscale rehabilitation facility in Houston, Texas.
Stanford, a psychiatrist working for his legal team said in court filings, has a traumatic brain injury; is overmedicated on and addicted to Klonopin; has dementia caused by an assault that caused traumatic brain injury; and has major depressive disorder.
The psychiatrist wants him to stay at the Memorial Hermann Hospital Prevention and Recovery Center. A website for that center notes that the center is “equipped with a greenhouse and basketball pavilion” and a virtual tour shows patients playing billiards in a recreation room.
In a Jan. 11 filing, a lawyer for Stanford said that the defense agrees that the accused needs to be inpatient for the first 30 days, but then may complete treatment on an outpatient basis.
“Such placement will comply with the mandates of due process, provide the appropriate medical treatment necessary for rehabilitation, and allow access to his attorneys and family members,” Ali R. Fazel argued. “As discussed in cases cited above placement in a Federal Medical Center, prison, will undermine the rehabilitative process and lengthen the recovery period.”
The lawyer argued that the federal prison never should have given Stanford the medication he’s become addicted to and that it was not a suitable facility for Stanford’s recovery.
“The Federal Detention Center should never have prescribed Klonopin to Mr. Stanford, as he does not suffer from an anxiety or panic disorder, nor does he suffer from epileptic seizures,” Fazel argued.
“Prescription of this medication created medical and mental problems that Mr. Stanford did not have prior to being incarcerated,” Fazel said. “The side effects of Klonopin are well known and available to anyone with internet capability.”
Earlier this month, a federal judge indefinitely delayed Stanford’s trial, which had been set to begin on Jan. 24.
Now Stanford’s lawyers and the federal prosecutors working on the case are awaiting a judge’s decision on whether he should be allowed to recover from his additions so he is fully capable of defending himself in court.
Three psychiatrists, including one hired by the government, said that Stanford “suffers from a mental disease or defect that presently deprives him of the ability to effectively assist his attorneys in preparing for trial, or to testify on his own behalf at trial,” Fazel said.
Justice Department lawyers had earlier argued that Stanford’s lawyers were simply trying to get a “lengthy continuance to further what appears to be his only goal in this case: obtaining pretrial release.”
A June 2009 indictment against Stanford alleged the Texas billionaire engaged in a scheme to defraud investors of $7 billion.