It sure looks like the Feds are bending over backwards to make sure R. Allen Stanford, accused of massive investment fraud, is not allowed to defend himself. The Feds are running the whole playbook at him, from onerous pre-trial detention requirements to asset forfeiture (the latter to the point that the Feds are working to make sure the insurance policy he had to pay for his defense in such actions is not allowed to pay him.) I understand that a guy who has substantial interest in offshore banking centers might be a flight risk, but this is absurd:
Mr. Stanford has been incarcerated since June 18, 2009 and was moved to the [Federal Detention Center] on September 29, 2009. Immediately upon his arrival at the FDC, he underwent general anesthesia surgery due to injuries that were inflicted upon him at the Joe Corley Detention Facility. He was then immediately taken from surgery and placed in the Maximum Security Section "” known as the "Special Housing Unit" (SHU) "” in a 7' x 6 1/2' solitary cell. He was kept there, 24 hours a day, unless visited by his lawyers. No other visitors were permitted, nor was he permitted to make or receive telephone calls. He had virtually no contact with other human beings, except for guards or his lawyers.
When he was taken from his cell, even for legal visits, he was forced to put his hands behind his back and place them through a small opening in the door. He then was handcuffed, with his arms behind his back, and removed from his cell. After being searched, he was escorted to the attorney visiting room down the hall from his cell; he was placed in the room and then the guards locked the heavy steel door. He was required, again, to back up to the door and place his shackled hands through the opening, so that the handcuffs could be removed. At the conclusion of his legal visits, he was handcuffed through the steel door, again, and then taken to a different cell where he was once again required to back up to the cell door to have his handcuffs removed and then forced to remove all of his clothing. Once he was nude, the guards then conducted a complete, external and internal search of his body, including his anus and genitalia. He was then shackled and returned to his cell. In his cell there was neither a television nor a radio and only minimal reading material was made available to him. He remained there in complete solitude and isolation until the next time his lawyers returned for a visit.
In short, Mr. Stanford was confined under the same maximum security conditions as a convicted death row prisoner, even though the allegations against him are for white collar, non-violent offenses. He is certainly not viewed as someone who poses a threat to other persons or the community, nevertheless, he has been deprived of human contact, communication with family and friends, and was incarcerated under conditions reserved for the most violent of convicted criminals. Officials at the FDC informed counsel that this was for Mr. Stanford's "own protection" and to minimize their liability. . . .
Remember, he has not been convicted -- this is pre-trial detention. The sole goal, legally, is supposed to be to keep him from fleeing before his trial.
I am sensitive to this from my climate work. My gut feel is that people who are truly confident in their case do not work overtime to make sure their opposition is not allowed to make their case.