Attorneys: Stanford deteriorating in jail

Jailed financier Allen Stanford is asking again, on new legal grounds, to be released from prison to help his attorneys prepare for his 2011 trial.
The 52-page motion comes from Stanford’s new attorneys, including Allen Dershowitz, who say Stanford is a mental and physical wreck after nearly a year in a Texas prison.
Months ago, U.S. District Judge David Hittner agreed with prosecutors that Stanford would not be released on bond because he was a “substantial flight risk.”
Stanford, 60, faces a 21-count indictment alleging that he and his associates ran a $7.2 billion fraud scheme involving the sale of certificates of deposit through Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd.
Stanford Financial Group also had offices in Jackson, Tupelo and Memphis. Mississippi officials believe hundreds of state residents may have lost millions in the financial empire’s collapse in February 2009.
The defendants deny all allegations of wrongdoing. Stanford is the only one in detention.
Dershowitz, a Harvard University law professor who helped defend former professional football player O.J. Simpson and socialite Claus von Bulow, joined the Stanford defense team as a consultant last month. He said then he would work only on the issue of obtaining bail for the Texas financier.
“He’s presumed innocent, yet he is being treated worse than a convicted defendant,” Dershowitz said then.
Hittner, in Houston, has twice denied Stanford bail. Both of those decisions were upheld on appeal.
Tuesday, the judge rejected Dershowitz’s motion on technical grounds involving type size and the standing of the lawyers submitting it. They refiled it Wednesday.
Stanford’s lawyers say his continued detention, in a Houston federal center, violates his Sixth and Eighth Amendment rights – to effective assistance of counsel and to a speedy trial, as well as prohibition against excessive bail.
Stanford “is being, and has been, subjected to substantial and undeniable punishment long before the trial in his case has even begun,” the motion states, claiming he has been physically assaulted, suffered significant medical injury and psychological debilitation, was held in solitary confinement twice for a total of 40 days and has been subjected to 335 days of pretrial incarceration as of May 18, 2010.
The motion cites sworn testimony of Stanford’s allegedly frail mental and physical conditions. It urges Hittner to allow his release under supervised house arrest so that he can help his attorneys prepare for trial and go through more than 8 million documents they say must be scrutinized by the January start.

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal