HOUSTON (Reuters) – Lawyers representing Allen Stanford told a federal judge they need at least two years to prepare for the accused swindler’s upcoming trial, citing their client’s health and lack of access to documents.
Stanford’s attorneys, Ali Fazel and Robert Scardino, also said in a court filing they need more time to adequately prepare the complex case for trial because they were assigned to it only two months ago.
Stanford, 60, is due to go on trial on January 24. He is accused of defrauding investors from the United States, Latin America, Canada and Europe with a $7 billion Ponzi scheme run through his offshore bank in Antigua.
One roadblock is a computer database containing more than 20 million pages of documents that Stanford and his legal team must review, the lawyers said in motion filed in federal court in Houston on Thursday.
Because Stanford has no Internet access, “the only material the accused has reviewed is a hand full of documents that have been printed and delivered by counsel,” the motion said.
Other attorneys who have represented Stanford have complained that the former billionaire has limited access to materials for his trial. He has been held since September 2009 at the federal jail in Houston.
Fazel and Scardino said in their request for a trial delay that Stanford is on medication that causes “simple matters such as prolonged reading to become arduous.”
Additionally, Stanford says he is partially blind in his right eye, a lingering effect from a jailhouse fight that sent the Texas financier to the hospital in September 2009.
In a filing earlier this month, Stanford’s attorneys sought his release by arguing that their client is on so much medication that it has rendered him unable to prepare for trial.
Judge David Hittner, who is overseeing Stanford’s criminal case, granted a prosecutor’s motion last week that he be examined by a psychiatrist of their choosing to determine the defendant’s competency.