The federal judge overseeing the trial of financier Allen Stanford has ordered the trial to go forward on January 23, denying a defense move to delay the case until late April.
U.S. District Court Judge David Hittner ruled only last week that Stanford was competent to stand trial on 14 criminal counts in an alleged $7 billion Ponzi scheme, and defense attorneys said they needed more time to prepare their case.
But Hittner, in an eight-page opinion, notes that Stanford has had 14 different attorneys representing him since the case began in 2009, and has had ample time to prepare his case.
Hittner wrote that the case "needs to be tried," in part because the outcome will decide whether millions of dollars frozen in offshore accounts can be seized for the alleged victims.
The ruling cannot be appealed, but Stanford's attorney says the defense team is reviewing its options.
"We stand by our filings including matters such as we have had a competent client for 5 days," Ali Fazel wrote in an e-mail to CNBC. "Our ability to defend our client has been consistently limited by matters the court is well aware of."
Prosecutors had opposed the move to delay the case until April, but said they would be willing to agree to a shorter delay of four to six weeks.