Prosecutors agree to postpone Stanford trial

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

HOUSTON, Texas – U.S. prosecutors say financier R. Allen Stanford’s request for a two-year trial delay is too long, although they agree to postpone his scheduled Jan. 24 criminal trial.
Stanford, 60, is accused of masterminding a $7.2 billion investment fraud scheme through his Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd. He denies the charges.
Thousands of investors, including many in Mississippi, lost their life savings and retirement funds when the Stanford empire crashed in early 2009 under the weight of a U.S. Securities amp& Exchange Commission investigation.
District Judge David Hittner set a Thursday hearing on the issues.
Government prosecutors said in papers filed in Houston late Monday that the court should postpone the trial and wait to set a new date until Stanford’s new psychiatric issues are resolved.
Stanford’s latest set of attorneys got Hittner’s permission for new tests on their client, whom they say is cracking under the pressures of imprisonment since his arrest in June 2009. He is the only defendant in custody.
“The requested continuance of two years is excessive,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg Costa said in the filing. Stanford’s lawyers, who took over his defense in October, say they need time to prepare.
One of Stanford’s court-appointed defense lawyers, Robert Scardino, told Bloomberg News reports that a government psychiatrist has completed his evaluation of Stanford’s mental state and submitted those findings to the court under seal Monday.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.