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Stanford 'Circus' Postponed, Infuriating Victims Awaiting Recovery

Bruce Carton | January 11, 2011

With Allen Stanford hiring and firing legal teams at least four times in the last year or so (with "a total of about 120 lawyers, paralegals and clerks from at least 10 law firms" having come and gone as of June 2010), the Stanford case reached the "circus" level many months ago. The latest developments in the Stanford prosecution, which would be bizarre in almost any other context, are therefore pretty much par for the course.

On Thursday of last week, U.S. District Judge David Hittner postponed Stanford's criminal trial after three psychiatrists, including one of hired by prosecutors, testified that Stanford was not capable of helping with his defense. The trial had been scheduled for this month.  Reuters reports that the psychiatrists agreed that Stanford suffers from depression and, following a prison fight in 2009, became addicted to an anti-anxiety drug called Klonopin that has left him "mentally foggy." Judge Hittner ruled that Stanford must be weaned off of the drug and deemed competent before standing trial.

The postponement--which could last for up to two years if Stanford's request is granted--has further infuriated investors who lost money through Stanford's alleged Ponzi scheme. According to CNBC, a delay in Stanford's trial will also delay his victims' potential recovery. This has led groups like the Stanford Victims Coalition to demand to know how a person in federal custody can become so addicted to drugs that he can no longer stand trial.

"It is utterly inconceivable our recovery could be jeopardized in any way as Stanford is recklessly medicated to the point of addiction and delirium while in federal custody," the Stanford Victims Coalition said in a statement. The  U.S. government has "shown nothing less than gross negligence in its handling of the Stanford Financial Group scandal," it added.