Stanford prosecutors want a prompt trial

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Stanford prosecutors want a prompt trial

Prosecutors today asked for a “prompt” trial date for R. Allen Stanford and those accused of conspiring with him in an alleged $7 billion fraud.

In advance of a case conference scheduled for Wednesday, prosecutor Gregg Costa asked Senior U.S. District Judge David Hittner to set a trial date for the complex case. Defense attorneys are expected to ask that the document-heavy case be set for later or that no date be set at all yet.

Costa wrote in court filings that the government has established a searchable database with all the documents the prosecution has obtained through grand jury subpoenas and investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, including many e-mails Costa says are irrelevant.

As of early this month 1.25 million documents have been scanned into the database that include 4.11 million pages or 215 gigabytes of digital data. Another 1.5 million pages will be added to the database in the next few weeks, the prosecution says. Costa said prosecutors will also designate a smaller group of documents the government is likely to use in trial.

Defense attorneys have complained that this is a mountain of work and they don’t yet know when they can be ready for trial.

Stanford himself faces 21 counts of conspiracy, fraud, bribery and obstruction of justice. He and codefendants are accused of bilking investors who bought certificates of deposit issued by Stanford International Bank on the Caribbean island of Antigua, and sold through companies operated by Houston-based Stanford Financial Group.

Stanford has had several lawyers and that could slow the pace too.

Houston attorney Dick DeGuerin worked for months without pay. Then Stanford wanted new lawyers but couldn’t pay them because his assets are frozen. The court appointed him a public defender and private lawyer Kent Schaffer and they have spent the last few weeks learning about the mammoth case.

But Stanford, who unlike codefendants is being held without bail as a possible flight risk, might be able to hire new lawyers since a Dallas judge this week cleared the way for a company insurance policy to pay legal fees.

His codefendants-former Stanford company executives Laura Pendergest-Holt, Gilberto Lopez and Mark Kuhrt-are free on bail..

In his filing, Costa says a fifth defendant, Leroy King, a bank regulator in Antigua, is under house arrest there and that the U.S. has filed papers seeking his extradition. A hearing on King’s extradition in set for December.

Source: Houston Chronicle

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