HOUSTON, Texas – Oh sure, I knew the possibility of rainfall in downtown Houston.
This is a semi-tropical climate with many balmy days and nights.
But, I said to myself as I packed in Tupelo, I’ll get an umbrella with I get there. Didn’t happen.
And so, much to much my fear and loathing, I awoke Tuesday to the obvious signs of a serious rain. Just because the federal courthouse is only four blocks away doesn’t mean I can skip along without umbrella and without consequences.
Let’s just say I refused to look in a mirror until I got back to my daughter’s apartment about 6:30 and realized how unattractive I had been all day. A tragic realization, to say the least.
Fortunately, an extra umbrella now resides here for my poorly planned use.
• • •
I’m calling this Day 8 of the Allen Stanford trial, although that’s really by court time, not the calendar. In calendar time, it would be Day 10. Regardless, this trial is expected to run 6-8 weeks and I pity anybody who’s got to sit in the audience for long.
I am no stranger to courtroom benches, but there’s something about these that would make anybody’s “natural cushion” feel abused. They are really hard. I’m thinking about taking a pillow today, although I’m sure courthouse security will look at me with disdain.
Among the folks who’ve been “regulars” here with the half-dozen reporters on the back couple of rows are Stanford’s mother, his girlfriend Evelyn and daughter Randi. I also got a Twitter question yesterday about whether his former fiance’, Andrea, was there.
Frankly, I wasn’t sure although I’d been told by a reporter that Andrea was in the Caribbean romancing a Cricket player. Good for her, I thought.
But the questioner sent me a photo of Andrea, and I half-told myself that perhaps she was in the courtroom. So, today, if I see this brunette woman, I will ask someone near me who should know.
Stanford was arrested at her Virginia home back in 2009 and she faithfully attempted to help him make bond, visited him in jail etc. for some time. Not sure when she may have, if indeed she did, decide that beaches and a man with a financial future were better options.
• • •
The government is doing a pretty good job here, but the defense attorneys are exceptionally good. Technically, they are “public defenders” because we citizens are paying the freight since Stanford apparently has no assets with all that receivership, liquidation and stuff.
But his attorneys are first rate, at least the two I’ve seen question witnesses to this stage.
The government’s case, to this point, has been so-so but Tuesday’s witnesses helped raise the bar that Stanford was borrowing money from his own bank, which got money from CD sales, to build his ritzy Caribbean dream development.
As his attorneys pushed for, the jury also was told that the tactic may not have been so unusual – that a business owner would borrow from one enterprise to fund another, with the ultimate plan of making it big in the latter and repaying the former. I’m not sure that would have assuaged anybody who lost their life savings and retirement funds in the $7.2 billion collapse.
Not sure who’s going to be on the stand today, but I’m hoping we’re closer to hearing from ex-Union Countian James M. Davis, Stanford’s college roommate and former chief financial officer. Right now, Stanford’s lawyers take every opportunity to press that Davis was the one making the financial decisions.
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Stay tuned... patsy