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Stanford's Attorneys Ask to Quit

Wednesday, 11 Jan 2012 | 8:34 PM ET
Allen Stanford
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Allen Stanford

Less than two weeks before his trial in one of the biggest alleged investment frauds in U.S. history, attorneys for financier Allen Stanford say they want out of the case.

Court-appointed attorneys Ali Fazel and Robert Scardino say in their bombshell motion that rulings by the judge in the case have left them in "an untenable position."

U.S. District Judge David Hittner has previously ruled Stanford competent for trial over the defense's objection, denied a defense motion to delay the trial, and just this week ordered that a defense jury consultant no longer be paid.

Stanford, who was once a multi-billionaire, was declared indigent after all of his funds were frozen and insurance companies refused to pay for his defense.

"The time and budgetary constraints imposed on defense counsel have operated to deprive the Accused of counsel who are adequately prepared to render the constitutional threshold of effective assistance," the motion says.

It will be up to Hittner to rule on the motion, and he has not always immediately approved similar motions in the past. Fazel and Scardino are not the first attorneys to quit the case —Stanford has had more than a dozen attorneys since he was first accused in 2009 of operating a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.

It is unclear whether Hittner will be willing to allow a change this close to trial. The case is scheduled to begin with jury selection on January 23.

Stanford, 61, faces 14 criminal counts. He has denied wrongdoing.

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