Diario Judío México - R. Allen Stanford appeared ill during a court appearance today as lawyers discussed possible trial dates for him and others accused of running a $7 billion fraud.
Stanford was thinner than in previous appearances. He spit blood into a water cup while sitting in court. Senior U.S. District Judge David Hittner asked Stanford if he needed attention, but he said he was all right. “It’s some sort of illness, we’re not sure what,” his lawyer Kent Schaffer said.
He said his client speaks to no one but prison guards and his lawyers, and it’s taking an emotional and physical toll. Stanford has had surgery for an aneurysm in his leg since he was jailed and was hospitalized after a fight with another inmate. He is being held without bail as a possible flight risk because of international connections and ability to get funds. Schaffer complained about Stanford’s treatment in the downtown Houston Federal Detention Center, saying he’s held in solitary confinement, isn’t getting adequate medical attention and can’t see or phone his family.
A spokesman for the federal Bureau of Prisons could not be reached for comment on that claim. Stanford, a Texas native who has lived mostly in the Caribbean for many years, founded Houston-based Stanford Financial Group. He faces 21 counts of conspiracy, fraud, bribery and obstruction of justice. He and co-defendants are accused of cheating investors who bought certificates of deposit issued by Stanford International Bank on the Caribbean island of Antigua, and sold through Stanford Financial Group companies. Three of Stanford’s codefendants are free on bail and wore street clothes for the court hearing, while their ex-boss sat nearby shackled and in green jail clothes. Lawyers on both sides estimated the trial could take four months. Prosecutor Gregg Costa asked for a trial date no later than next October. But defense lawyers said they haven’t had time to dig into the government’s 5 million pages of documents and need weeks before they even know when they can be prepared for trial.
Mike Sokolow, the public defender appointed to handle Stanford’s case, officially withdrew today. Schaffer, a private lawyer also appointed, said he will stay on now that a Dallas judge overseeing a civil fraud case against Stanford and others has said an insurer can pay for their defense.
Stanford’s criminal codefendants who appeared in court today – former Stanford company executives Laura Holt, Gilbert Lopez and Mark Kuhrt – also should be covered by the company insurance policy. Costa said the fifth defendant, Leroy King, a bank regulator in Antigua, is under house arrest there and the government hopes he will be extradited in time to participate in the trial.
Source: Houston Chronicle