Stanford Trial Delayed Over Drug Addiction

Fraud accused Allen Stanford has been granted a delay in his criminal trial while he gets treatment for a prescription drug addiction.

During an almost eight-hour long hearing yesterday to determine Stanford’s competency, defence and government psychiatrists agreed that Stanford was not competent to stand trial on January 24, and US District Judge David Hittner postponed the trial without setting a date.

“Nothing can be done until the medical aspect is cleared up,” he said after granting the continuance, adding that only after Stanford is recovered and found competent would a new date be set for him to go on trial for defrauding investors of US$7 billion through the sale of certificates of deposit at the Stanford International Bank in Antigua.

Hittner’s decision came after he heard from Victor Scarano and David Axelrad, two psychiatrists testifying for the defense, and Steven Rosenblatt, a psychiatrist working for the government.

As Stanford sat quietly in the court, speaking only to confirm that he agreed with his lawyers’ request for a two-year delay in his trial, all three agreed that the after effects of the head injury he sustained in a beating by an inmate last year; the high dosage of clonazepam, an anti-anxiety drug; and mirtazapine, an anti-depressant, were having an impact on him on his mental health.

“In my opinion…he’s unable to work effectively with his attorney to develop a defense against the charges,” Scarano said.

Although Rosenblatt agreed, saying that Stanford suffered delirium from the clonazepam, he questioned the dosage. He said the amount was still more than necessary, even though it was temporarily reduced a month ago.

He noted that Stanford appears to be doing a bit better today than he was while taking the higher dosage, but noted that getting him off that medication should help him a lot.

In addition to being weaned off the clonazepam, Stanford will have to undergo several tests to determine how badly his head injury has affected him, the defence psychiatrists said.

Axelrad said that even after withdrawal from the medications, they could still find Stanford has “significant neurological deficits” from injury.

What the defence and prosecution did not agree on, however, was where Stanford should undergo his treatment.

Prosecutors say he can get it at a federal prison. But lead defence attorney Ali Fazel argued that it was in prison that Stanford got the injury in the first place.


He and the other defence lawyer Richard Scardino want their client to be placed in a private facility. They said he would wear an electronic ankle monitor and be watched by guards paid for by his family.

Each side will have to submit proposals to Judge Hittner by January 12.

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