A federal judge on Friday indefinitely postponed the trial of Allen Stanford [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], citing chemical dependency that has left Stanford incompetent to stand trial at present. Judge David Hittner of the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas [official website] heard testimony from three psychiatrists before concluding that Stanford's addiction to anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications prescribed by prison physicians has rendered him unable to meaningfully contribute to his defense [Houston Chronicle report]. Judge Hittner ordered representatives for each side to submit motions by Wednesday to determine whether Stanford should remain in custody or be released to a private facility for detoxification.
Stanford is accused of defrauding investors [indictment, PDF; JURIST report] out of $7 billion. Last January, a federal judge ordered that $21.2 million in gold coins and bullion be returned [JURIST report] to more than 200 of Stanford's investors. Weeks earlier, the US Department of Justice [official website] began investigating [JURIST report] political donations and other connections between Stanford and US lawmakers. Stanford donated more than $2.3 million to lawmakers' campaigns and spent more than $5 million in lobbying efforts while allegedly carrying out the fraud. Stanford has denied the charges [JURIST report] against him and was originally set to be released on $500,000 bail until prosecutors successfully appealed the decision. Through three of his investment companies, Stanford allegedly violated the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Investment Company Act of 1940 [texts]. He was originally charged [complaint, PDF; JURIST report] in February with running a fraudulent investment scheme by selling certificates of deposit on the promise of improbably high interest rates.