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Stanford Incompetent to Stand Trial: Defense Attorney

The defense attorney for accused Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford says his client is not competent to stand trial next month, and he is asking for a court hearing to prove it.

Allen Stanford
AP
Allen Stanford

As CNBC first reported one week ago, Stanford's court-appointed defense attorney, Ali Fazel, asked that his client be released on bail because the medication he is receiving in prison is rendering him unable to assist in his own defense. Now, in a separate filing, Fazel is asking for a competency hearing that could derail Stanford's trial, which is scheduled to begin next month.

"Constitutional due process requires that trial of an accused may be conducted only when he is legally competent," Fazel writes.

In the earlier filing, Fazel argued that Stanford's condition was deteriorating in prison, largely as a result of the drugs he is receiving for injuries sustained during a fight in prison in 2009. The new filing says Stanford was found incompetent to stand trial by a "Dr. Scarano," whose first name and specialty are not specified.

The filing says the government is not taking a position on Stanford's competency until its own expert has had an opportunity to examine him.

Stanford faces 21 criminal counts in an alleged $7 billion Ponzi scheme. He has been held without bail since his indictment in June 2009, after a judge ruled he is a flight risk.