By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
HOUSTON, Texas – Fallen financier R. Allen Stanford’s defense team began its work Wednesday after the presiding judge denied its acquittal motion.
U.S. District Judge David Hittner also told the 15-member jury it won’t know until the last minute whether Stanford will testify.
Before the trial began Jan. 24, defense attorneys said they expected him to take the stand.
Get “everything ready to roll,” Hittner told the defense team about 2:30 p.m., The Houston Chronicle reported.
Earlier today, the government ended its case with testimony from FBI accounting specialist David Martin.
Stanford, 61, is on trial in Houston, where he founded his financial services empire.
He is accused of participating in a $7.2 billion Ponzi scheme on investors in certificates of deposit through his Stanford International Bank Ltd. in Antigua.
He maintains he is not guilty and blames former Chief Financial Officer James M. Davis, who lived west of Baldwyn and worked out of Stanford’s Tupelo and Memphis offices.
Davis spent four days on the stand, telling a 15-member jury his experiences as Stanford’s closest business associate. He also admitted to numerous personal, financial and professional indiscretions along the way.
Patrick O’Brien, 69, a retired lawyer, was the defense’s first witness. He said he helped Stanford rewrite Antigua’s banking laws.
The Chronicle reports O’Brien is a former special agent for the U.S. Customs Service and investigated money laundering and drug smuggling cases.
He termed “obstructionist” former Antiguan bank regulator Althea Crick, who testified critically about Stanford’s interference.
He also said Stanford loaned Antigua the money to pay for the new bank-laws committee work.
With Hittner’s ruling, the trial likely continues for several more weeks.