R. Allen Stanford — formerly a successful billionaire banker –was convicted last week of 13 criminal counts . The jury also found that he would have to forfeit approximately $330 million. His criminal defense attorneys plan to appeal.
During the pretrial process, Mr. Stanford changed attorneys numerous times. His criminal defense attorneys plant to appeal the guilty verdicts. They also claim that they didn’t have enough time to prepare his defense.
The criminal lawyers might be right. Mr. Stanford had a ridiculously complicated case, involving highly complex financial transactions. Apparently, his team only had a month to prepare his case for trial. This is not much time in the legal world. After all, DUI attorneys are routinely given four or five months to prepare misdemeanor cases for trial.
The heart of the case involved Mr. Stanford’s conspiracy to defraud investors. Those investors purchased billions of dollars in bank issued CDs over a number of years. Now that he has been found guilty, he faces over 200 years in prison.
During the pretrial period, Mr. Stanford had no fewer than five legal teams work on his case. At the end of the process, the federal government paid over $2 million in court appointed attorney fees. Mr. Sanford was assaulted in prison and suffered a brain injury. As a result, his attorneys asked for a competency hearing. Mr. Sanford was eventually deemed competent, and the judge quickly moved forward with the jury trial.
The strategy surrounding this case may ultimately work for Mr. Sanford. There are real questions as to his competency and the ability of his attorneys to represent him. I think that due to the fact that there are dual issues, competency of the defendant and ability of the team to present a defense. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was successful in his appeal. However, after looking at the case, I think Mr. Sanford needs to prepare himself for spending the rest of his life in prison, because even if the case comes back on appeal and there is a retrial, I don’t believe that a different jury would acquit him.
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