The latest defense attorney for accused Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford has come up with a new argument to try to get him freed on bail: Stanford is too heavily medicated in prison to defend himself in court.
The argument comes in a court filing Monday by public defender Ali Fazel, who took over Stanford's case in October.
"(T)he accused can no longe assist counsel or invoke basic constitutional rights" because of the drugs, Fazel writes.
Stanford, accused of running a $7 billion dollar investment scam, has been held without bail since his indictment in June, 2009, after the judge in the case ruled he is a flight risk. Fazel is the latest in a succession of more than a dozen attorneys who have either represented or sought to represent Stanford. Each legal team has attempted to get Stanford freed on bail, but Fazel is the first to use Stanford's medication as an argument.
The medication began in September, 2009, Fazel writes, after Stanford was so badly beaten by another inmate that he required surgery. The court filing includes a sealed list of the "variety of medications" prescribed to Stanford.
"These medications have left Mr. Stanford in an unfocused and numbed state of mind," Fazel notes, adding the drugs could affect Stanford's demeanor if he chooses to testify in his trial, which is scheduled to begin next month. The filing does not say how Stanford's drug regimen would change if he is freed, but notes "Mr. Stanford's mental, emotional, and physical health are drastically deteriorating" in prison.
Fazel, who is being paid $125 per hour by the taxpayers to represent the former billionaire banker, was appointed as Stanford's lead attorney in October after a federal judge blocked Stanford from collecting on a liability policy he planned to use to fund his defense. All of Stanford's assets have been frozen by the courts while the case is pending.