By Patsy R. Brumfield / Daily Journal
HOUSTON, Texas – R. Allen Stanford’s trial begins Day 6 with “the big” James Davis testimony looming, possibly later today. We’ll see.
Stanford, 61, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on charges he operated a $7.2 billion Ponzi scheme on 20,000-plus investors worldwide.
More than 1,000 are Mississippians who did business with Stanford Financial Group through offices in Tupelo, Jackson and Memphis, Tenn.
Davis was SFG’s chief financial officer, Stanford’s right-hand man and former Baylor University roommate. In the several years before SFG’s collapse, Davis and his wife lived in a mansion west of Baldwyn and he worked out of the Tupelo and Memphis offices.
Davis and Laura Pendergest-Holt, a Baldwyn native and SFG chief investment officer, bought up numerous downtown Baldwyn properties with plans for a renaissance.
Holt and three others face similar criminal charges at trial in June. Davis pleaded guilty to charges against him in August 2009.
Testimony today begins with Mark Collinsworth, who worked with Holt.
Defense attorneys insist the company was sound until a federal investigation caused a run on assets and forced a collapse in early 2009.
Trial prosecutors include assistant U.S. attorneys Gregg Costa; and defense attorneys Ali Fazel and Robert Scardino.
U.S. District Judge David Hittner presides over the trial in downtown Houston.
(Below is a running account from the courtroom. Please excuse the typos and glitches likely as I type fast.)
• • •
9:40 – Judge hears discussion about another criminal case. Stanford’s girlfriend in audience with perhaps a dozen others.
Stanford comes in with dark suit, light blue shirt and no tie. He smiles at the woman, then begins to take a look at documents.