Stanford to Testify in Own Defense at Ponzi Trial

Allen Stanford plans to testify in his own defense against charges he ran a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, one of his defense attorneys said in court today.

Allen Stanford
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Allen Stanford

"We fully intend for Mr. Stanford to take the stand," defense attorney Robert Scardino said in the final hearing ahead of Stanford's trial, which starts Monday.

Stanford's testimony might also allow the defense to introduce evidence that Stanford was beaten by another inmate while in custody and became addicted to prescription drugs, temporarily rendering him incompetent for trial.

Defense attorneys said they want Stanford to testify about his attack in jail and his addiction to painkillers. They say the jury needs to know about these events to understand his conduct on the stand "if he testifies in a way that seems abnormal."

They have not said what else he would testify about, but Stanford's testimony would also open him up to vigorous cross-examination by the prosecution.

Earlier, Stanford formally entered a plea of "not guilty" to a revised, 14-count indictment in what prosecutors say is one of the largest investment frauds in U.S. history. The indictment, which slightly narrows the case against Stanford, was returned last summer, but Stanford was unable to enter a plea at that time because he had been ruled incompetent.

Stanford has been held without bail since he surrendered to authorities in 2009, after a judge ruled he is a flight risk.

His trial has been delayed twice because of his medical issues, but U.S. District Judge David Hittner on Wednesday denied the latest motion by the defense to delay the trial, meaning jury selection will likely begin on Monday.