Allen Stanford Unfit for Trial? Witnesses Skeptical of Amnesia Claims

HOUSTON, Texas – infamous swindler and accused Ponzi scheme architect Allen Stanford, 61, allegedly suffers from memory loss so significant that he may be found unfit to stand for trial.

To bring everyone up to speed, Allen Stanford, formerly of Stanford Financial Group, was arrested in June 2009 for allegedly running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme. Stanford himself claims that he suffers from retrograde amnesia from a prison fight in 2009. This condition prevents him from recalling specific events from his life prior to his injury (how convenient) and though the fight occurred in 2009, the symptoms of his condition have only recently developed.

Professional opinions are divided. Prison psychologist Robert Cochrane who evaluated Stanford on Tuesday called such delayed memory loss “incredibly rare”, also adding that “You have amnesia right after an injury, you don’t have a delay”.

Prosecutors balk at Stanford’s claims, saying that there is no evidence to support his memory loss, pushing for the trial to go on as scheduled on January 23. U.S. District Judge David Hittner, the man overseeing the competency trial, says that he will only allow medical and mental health professionals to testify at the hearing, and Stanford’s defense apparently has several lined up.

Witnesses are split as well. One is skeptical of the claims while another holds that Stanford’s symptoms are consistent with retrograde amnesia.

Allen Stanford has been held without bail as a flight risk since his June 18, 2009 arrest. The case is U.S. v. Stanford, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas. No. 09-00342.

What’s that old saying? “Ignorantia juris non excusat”? Or rather, “ignorance of the law does not excuse”? Now you have a good Latin phrase to impress your friends. You are welcome.

What say you? Skeptical of these claims?