"Allen Stanford Taking Witness Stand Seen as Risk to Fraud Trial Defense"Bloomberg
Barry Pollack discusses the decision by R. Allen Stanford to testify at his investor fraud trial. "It makes almost everything that came before irrelevant," said Pollack. "Either the jury identifies with and believes him and discards the evidence that came before. Or it doesn't, and it takes every possible negative inference from what its heard. It's always a game changer when the defendant testifies," Pollack said.
Pollack represented Michael Krautz, an executive with the Internet unit of the failed Houston energy company Enron Corp., who testified in his trial and was acquitted. Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling testified and were convicted of fraud in 2006.
For Stanford to succeed, Pollack said, he must "be thoroughly prepared, to the point where he can relive the events at issue in the trial so he's able to answer all the questions." Most people don't have good recall of events three or four years ago, especially e-mails or texts or phone calls, Pollack said. He said recall is challenging under the best of circumstances, and it's more difficult when the defendant was jailed and, in Stanford's case, beaten by another inmate.
"Juries are very good at detecting when somebody's putting on an act," Pollack said. "If he appears to be a very different person than what was reflected in his e-mails and phone conversations, the jury's going to see right through that. You want to be yourself, warts and all. Juries appreciate that you're baring your soul."