Ooops, Stanford case “sealed” docs weren’t

Howdy, readers. It’s Day 1 for “From the Front Row,” my periodic blog about stuff I’ve run across in the course of my Daily Journal comings and goings.

Today, it’s about how even the best of us can mess up.

You may have seen my story about Sir R. Allen Stanford’s attorney’s sealed motion to the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas. My professional guess is that the motion asks the court for immediate financial relief to Stanford’s high-powered attorney or the attorney is going to have to spend his time with paid customers.

This assumption comes from the fact that the sealed motion had an exhibit attached. I clicked on the exhibit, printed it and discovered a series of letters between Stanford’s attorney and insurance carriers about using Stanford insurance policies or Stanford Financial Group policies to help pay the legal bills.

Stanford had signed over a $5-million Lloyds of London policy to the attorney, who told him that amount probably wouldn’t be enough.

Ultimately, the underwriters said the court-appointed receiver said the value from these policies are “assets,” thus frozen by the court and not available to pay legal fees – until the court says to do so.

Very interesting.

Anyway, as is my custom most of the time, I dashed to and posted the story. Twitter and Facebook, too. I also dispatched an e-mail to the attorney, asking if he intended to withdraw.

He responded, “Not yet.” And so I asked a couple other minor questions.

Four hours and six minutes after the story went up on, I got a call from the attorney’s assistant. She was a little bit ruffled about how I acquired the documents, since they were supposed to be sealed. And anyway, why didn’t I call somebody about that?

Lady, I don’t have ESP, I said somewhat politely.

She asked me to call the court in Houston, which I was happy to do, after explaining to my boss, Mike Tonos, what had happened.

The poor woman on the other end of the conversation in Houston sounded completely distraught to know all the stuff had gone throughout the Cyber Universe. I told her I was very sorry, which I am, for whatever repercussions may occur from writing about the exhibit.

I’ve made bad mistakes, too. They just never feel very good, especially when you can’t do anything about them.

Guess we’ll see how this all plays out. Stay tuned to “From the Front Row” for developments and to for my other reports.

You also can find me on Twitter as RealNewsQueen and as myself on Facebook.

I’ll try never to waste your time.

– PRB 7/17/09

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