(Bloomberg News) The trial of Financier R. Allen Stanford, charged with leading a $7 billion investor fraud, is scheduled to begin with jury selection on Sept. 12 in Houston.
Stanford, 61, was indicted in June 2009 on 21 criminal charges he misled investors about the safety and oversight of certificates of deposit issued by his Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd. Last week, prosecutors re-indicted the financier on narrower charges, dropping seven allegations.
Declaring that the superseding indictment contained "no basic changes in the relevant counts," U.S. District Judge David Hittner yesterday signed an order setting Stanford's trial to start with jury selection in about four months.
Stanford, who denies all wrongdoing, has been imprisoned as a flight risk since he was arrested almost two years ago. His trial was to begin Jan. 24, until Hittner postponed the case to allow Stanford to undergo drug rehabilitation in a prison facility.
Hittner found Stanford mentally unfit to assist in his defense as a result of an addiction to prescription anxiety drugs he acquired while in prison. Stanford has been undergoing detox treatment at the hospital unit at the federal prison in Butner, North Carolina, since mid-February.
"Our client has been found incompetent and is currently still in Butner," Ali Fazel, one of Stanford's criminal-defense lawyers, said in a phone interview yesterday. He declined to comment further, citing the judge's order not to discuss the case publicly.
Laura Sweeney, a Justice Department spokeswoman, also declined to comment, citing Hittner's gag order on lawyers in the case.
The criminal case is U.S. v. Stanford, 09-cr-342, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston).