Allen Stanford is nearing a nervous breakdown, says psychiatrist. Allen Stanford's lawyers plead for financier's release on bail.
Andrew Clark guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 23 December 2009 20.23 GMT Article history Allen Stanford arrives at the federal court in Houston on 17 December. Photograph: Donna Carson/Reuters
Financier Allen Stanford has suffered a severe mental and physical deterioration and is in danger of "a complete nervous breakdown" in a Texas prison, according to a psychiatrist's report. The statement is included in a fresh plea for bail by the tycoon who was once known for bankrolling cricket's 20/20 international tournaments.
Stanford has been in jail since June while he awaits a criminal trial, set for January 2011. He is charged with fiddling investors out of $7bn at his Stanford International bank. His lawyers have submitted a dossier of 25 emotive letters from family and friends attesting to Stanford's character and urging judge David Hittner to release him under supervision.
Defence lawyers say it is impossible for Stanford to prepare his defence against highly complex fraud charges from a jail cell. He has no internet access, limited use of a telephone and cannot easily view the 7m pages of documents in the case. They have pointed out that others, including the Wall Street fraudster Bernard Madoff, corrupt lawyer Marc Dreier and accused hedge-fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, have been granted bail while awaiting trial.
A 50-page petition to Houston's federal court says that Stanford, 59, has lost 40lbs in weight in the last 90 days and is taking medicines for high blood pressure, depression, ulcers and an irregular heart beat. Following a violent assault by a fellow inmate three months ago, Stanford had to undergo reconstructive surgery. According to his lawyers, he has lost all feeling on the right side of his face and has been unable to read with his right eye.
The former billionaire recently spent two months in solitary confinement "for his own protection".
A psychiatrist has diagnosed him with serious depression, reporting: "If the present set of circumstances persist, Mr Stanford ... will suffer further serious physical disorders and, more likely than not, a complete nervous breakdown."