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Suspected Ponzi Schemer Stanford to Stand Trial Next Month

Bruce Carton | December 28, 2011

In June 2009, Allen Stanford was arrested following his indictment in an alleged $8 billion Ponzi scheme. In the two and a half years since then, a seeming endless string of bizarre events have conspired to prevent a trial in the case. The latest lengthy delays in the case, for example, came after Stanford somehow became addicted to an anti-anxiety drug called Klonopin while in federal custody, finally kicked that habit, but then proclaimed that he had complete amnesia as to events that predated head trauma he sustained in a September 2009 prison fight.

In the past week, however, these last stumbling blocks to a trial have been overcome, and now it appears that jury selection in Stanford's trial will, in fact, commence on January 23, 2012. On December 22, U.S. District Judge David Hittner ruled that Stanford is competent to stand trial, despite his doctors assertions that he has "no independent recollection of personal life events or business dealings that predated the head trauma he sustained in the September 2009." The judge sided with doctors testifying for the prosecution who tested Stanford and found that he "either was not trying or was faking.'"  

Following Judge Hittner's ruling, lawyers for Stanford asked the court to push out the trial date until late April 2012 to give them more time to review documents with Stanford. Today, Judge Hittner denied the request, stating that it was important that the case be tried as currently scheduled, beginning January 23. "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,” he wrote.