Allen Stanford thinks he is his best attorney
Convicted fraudster Allen Stanford—who has at one time or another been represented by 18 different attorneys—has now decided the best person for the job is himself.
Writing from the federal prison in Florida where he is serving a 110-year sentence for his role in a $7 billion international Ponzi scheme, Stanford complained to the federal court hearing his appeal that his court-appointed attorney is not responsive enough, and is unprepared to effectively represent him. So Stanford, who has no legal training, says he is invoking his right to represent himself.
The merry-go-round of Stanford attorneys began spinning soon after his arrest in 2009, when a federal court froze his assets—which once topped $2 billion. Some attorneys quit when it became clear they could not be paid. Others were fired by the famously temperamental Stanford. At his 2012 trial, Stanford was represented by court-appointed attorneys Robert Scardino and Ali Fazel, though they too tried unsuccessfully to quit the case days before trial.
After Stanford was convicted on 13 counts and ordered to forfeit $5.9 billion tied to the fraud, the court appointed Houston attorney Lourdes Rodriguez to represent Stanford in his appeal. But the two never clicked.
In his affidavit written in prison, Stanford said Rodriguez "has been elusive at times, not answering the phone, e-mails, and never responding to my letters," and he complained she has not been willing to accept his assistance in the case.
Rodriguez declined to comment. In a letter to the court after Stanford first began complaining earlier this year, she said Stanford's real issues were not with her, but "revolve around his expressed disdain and repudiation of the United States criminal justice system."
(Read more: Allen Stanford Investors Could Get (Tiny) Payout)
Now, the two may finally be parting ways. On Tuesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that in light of Stanford's motion to represent himself, it was suspending a September deadline to file his appeal.
—By CNBC's Scott Cohn; Follow him on Twitter @ScottCohnCNBC