Indicted Texas billionaire Allen Stanford says the federal government has "coordinated an attack" on his constitutional rights.
In a court filing, Stanford's attorney demands the court either free up funds to pay for his defense, or dismiss the 21-count indictment filed against him last month.
Stanford, who allegedly ran an $8 billion Ponzi scheme, is being held without bail at a federal facility north of Houston pending his trial.
The 20-page filing in Houston's U.S. District Court notes that Stanford's assets have been frozen since February, and the courts have refused to allow him access to money for his legal defense unless he waives his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and provides an accounting of his assets.
"Ultimately, the government has presented Mr. Stanford with a Hobson's choice," writes attorney Dick DeGuerin: "waive his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination or waive his Sixth Amendment right to counsel."
The filing also notes that Stanford Financial's Directors & Officers insurance carrier, Lloyds, had agreed to pay for his defense, only to have the court-appointed receiver in the case threaten to seek contempt charges if it did so. But at the same time, the receiver—in concert with the government—had spent nearly $20 million in Stanford's prosecution.
"The sum total of these actions, taken in the appropriate context, demonstrates a concerted effort on behalf of the Government to subvert the fundamental principles of fairness underlying Mr. Stanford's constitutional rights," the filing says.
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the filing.