Stanford Says His Constitutional Rights Were Violated

Accused Ponzi mastermind Allen Stanford, who is scheduled to go on trial in two weeks on charges he ran a $7 billion scam, says the case should be dismissed because his constitutional rights were violated.

Allen Stanford
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Allen Stanford

Stanford's court-appointed attorneys unleashed a barrage of legal filings late Friday night and early Saturday morning in hopes of derailing the trial, which is set to begin January 23.

In one of the filings, lead defense attorney Ali Fazel cites "repeated outrageous government conduct" during the two-and-a-half years Stanford has been held without bail. Stanford has been detained as a flight risk since his indictment in June, 2009.

While in government custody, Stanford was savagely beaten by another inmate, underwent major surgery, and became addicted to prescription drugs. The defense claims Stanford has suffered permanent physical and mental damage.

"The Government's negligence has resulted in the Accused suffering from diminished mental capacity and thereby has interfered with the Accused's ability to effectively exercise his rights," the filing says, including assisting his attorneys, cross-examination of witnesses and testifying on his own behalf.

The filing also says Stanford's "punitive" treatment while in custody violates his right to due process, since Stanford is still presumed innocent.

Another filing claims the government violated Stanford's constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure when a court-appointed receiver accessed the records of Stanford's bank in Antigua and turned them over to U.S. prosecutors.

The receiver, Dallas attorney Ralph Janvey, is supposed to be rounding up assets to return to Stanford's investors, but the defense claims that Janvey became an "agent of the government" by working with prosecutors and the SEC. The filing says all the evidence Janvey turned over to the government should be suppressed because it was obtained without a warrant.

It is not clear whether any of Stanford's latest maneuvers has much chance for success. The judge in the case, U.S. District Judge David Hittner, has already denied requests by Stanford's attorneys that the judge declare him incompetent, as well as to delay the case for three months to give them more time to prepare.

For its part, the government has not yet responded to the latest filings by the defense. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg Costa did ask in a motion on Friday that Hittner bar Stanford's attorneys from introducing evidence at the trial about Stanford's jailhouse treatment, which the motion says is "not relevant."