Jury selection for Stanford trial underway

January 24, 2012 2:06:16 PM PST
Jury selection has begun in the R. Allen Stanford investment fraud scandal. Stanford is accused of running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme based here in Houston, and in Antigua.

Stanford has gone from being a peer in the British West Indies island of Antigua to an accused swindler of billion dollar proportion. He was arrested two and a half years ago and charged with participating in a Ponzi scheme that allegedly cost clients of Houston-based Stanford financial $7 billion in investment money.

While in detention he was beaten, became addicted to prescription medication and, according to his attorneys' plea to the court, was unable to assist in his own defense. The motion was denied, and 80 potential jurors were brought in to the Houston federal courthouse on Monday.

Among the questions brought up to juror candidates -- if they have a financial background, if they're accountants, have investment holdings, whether they have international investments or their families have international business connections, especially to the Caribbean.

KTRK legal analyst Joel Androphy says the defense wants an educated jury.

"People that will evaluate the records but I don't want a finance major, I don't want a CPA," Androphy explained. "I won't want anybody out there that's going to make it more difficult for the defense and easier for the government."

In the end, picking a jury panel may be the quickest part of this trial. Actual testimony could take months.

Stay with Eyewitness News and abc13.com as we continue following this story.