Day 3: Stanford Competency Hearing

Day three of the competency hearing for jailed financier R. Allen Stanford started with some drama. Stanford is facing charges he allegedly masterminded a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.

Stanford appeared agitated at the start of today’s proceedings. During yesterday’s testimony, defense witness Dr. Ralph Lilly described Stanford as potentially suicidal. Officials at the Federal Detention Center Houston picked up on this in Bloomberg reporting of the hearing. When Stanford returned to the FDC, he was placed in an observational unit overnight and checked on every fifteen minutes. There was also some question whether Stanford had received his prescribed medication.

Judge David Hittner paused the hearing while an FDC attorney briefed the prosecution and defense teams. Stanford’s lawyers also asked for and got a brief recess to speak with their client, in order to ensure he’d keep calm during testimony.

The defense then continued yesterday’s examination of Dr. David Axelrod, a neuropsychiatrist and defense expert witness. Axelrod testified Stanford was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder and speech disorders in addition to memory loss. Axelrod attributed these to the combined effects of traumatic brain injury from a jailhouse assault and the continuing effects of anti-anxiety medication. Stanford was weaned from the drug at a federal prison hospital in North Carolina after being diagnosed with addiction.

Axelrod said Stanford’s physical and mental state meant that it would be inadvisable for defense attorneys to put Stanford on the stand. For that reason, Axelrod believed the financier remained incompetent to stand trial.

The hearing is set to conclude later today.

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...