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Trials & Litigation

How Many Lawyers Does Constitution Allow? Onetime Billionaire Allen Stanford May Find Out

Posted Apr 6, 2010 2:47 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Just how many times does the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution allow a defendant the right to counsel of his own selection?

It appears that onetime billionaire R. Allen Stanford could be on the verge of testing that question, although a federal judge in Texas is allowing him one more change of counsel, reports Bloomberg.

However, Stanford's choice to switch to attorneys Michael Essmyer and Robert Bennett will be his last change of counsel in the Houston-based case, warned U.S. District Judge David Hittner, pointing out that 10 attorneys have so far attempted to enter their appearances on Stanford's behalf.

“I have the Sixth Amendment right to pick my own counsel," Stanford told the judge in a hearing today, saying that Hittner had nixed four of his counsel choices.

Responded Hittner: “Over and over again?”

As detailed in earlier ABAJournal.com posts, Stanford is accused of orchestrating a $7 billion swindle largely through the sale of certificates of deposit in an offshore bank he controlled.

Earlier related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Judge Appoints Public Defender for Billionaire R. Allen Stanford"

ABAJournal.com: "Stanford’s D&O Coverage Can Pay for Private Counsel in $7B Case, Judge Rules"

ABAJournal.com: "Billionaire Stanford & His Lawyers Held in Contempt Over Legal Fees Suit"

ABAJournal.com: "5th Circuit Stays Judge’s Order That Insurer Must Pay Stanford’s Lawyers"

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