Las víctimas olvidadas de Stanford ahora disponible en español

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lawyer says Stanford has fired him, too

One of jailed businessman R. Allen Stanford's two new lawyers on Friday asked a judge to let him withdraw from the case, saying Stanford has fired him.

Less than six weeks ago Mike Essmyer, a longtime Houston criminal defense lawyer, told U.S. District Judge David Hittner that Stanford wanted Essmyer and Robert S. Bennett to be his new legal team because of a conflict with his last set of lawyers.

But in his motion, Essmyer said he's had irreconcilable differences with Stanford, who fired him in writing. Essmyer said he's also had irreconcilable differences with Bennett.

Essmyer complains that though he is lead counsel, Bennett has acted independently.

It is unclear whether Hittner will let Essmyer withdraw. The judge was adamant in April that Bennett and Essmyer were the last counsel of record for Stanford, who has changed attorneys several times.

But Essmyer notes in his motion that Bennett has told insurers he has hired 15 other lawyers to work with him, including Harvard Law professor and former O.J. Simpson lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

Stanford, 60, founder and chairman of Stanford Financial Group, faces 21 federal criminal charges in connection with what the government calls a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.

Stanford has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has been detained as a flight risk since his indictment.

Essmyer had no comment late Friday, and Bennett could not be reached for comment

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