Stanford Trial Delayed; Accused Ponzi Schemer Addicted To Anti-Anxiety Med.

Jan 7 2011 | 8:51am ET

Accused hedge fund fraudster R. Allen Stanford is too hopped up on drugs to face trial, a judge ruled yesterday.

Stanford, accused of swindling investors out of $7 billion, was to get his day in court later this month. But the alleged Ponzi schemer's lawyers said that he is addicted to a powerful anti-anxiety medication that has left him too foggy to assist in his own defense.

U.S. District Judge David Hittner also ordered Stanford to undergo further tests to determine his competency to stand trial.

According to a defense team psychiatrist, Stanford suffered brain trauma in a 2009 fight at a private prison in South Texas, which fractured his eye socket and cheek bones. Victor Scarano said that Stanford is currently taking the anti-anxiety medicine clonazepam and an anti-depressant, mirtazapine, and needs to be slowly weaned off the former. Two other defense team psychiatrists testified that Stanford should be released from prison to receive treatment.

Hittner agreed to delay the trial, but did not set a new trial date. Stanford's lawyers want a two-year delay, while prosecutors, whose own psychiatrist agreed that Stanford was not competent to assist his defense, want a shorter delay.

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