Allen Stanford, who was convicted in early March of masterminding a ponzi scheme that swindled consumers out of $7 billion, lost his bid for a retrial. Stanford contended that at trial, the judge permitted the media to be present during court sessions where the jury was not present and the parties were off the record. Members of the media tweeted what was said during those sessions and Stanford argued that members of the jury could have easily learned about the contents of those tweets, through Twitter or through family members using Twitter.
Stanford attorney said in papers submitted to the court, “This broadcasting is likely to have reached a juror, since Twitter does not require active pursuit of information, but rather, if a friend of the juror’s was following the ‘Stanford trial,’ the tweets might automatically show up on a juror’s Twitter account.”
According to Stanford’s attorney, members of the jury were not instructed to stay off of Twitter and could have easily learned information outside of the scope of what was permitted, entitling Stanford to a new trial.
The motion for retrial was made to U.S. District Judge David Hittner, the same judge who presided over the trial; the motion was denied in a one-sentence order. Stanford is scheduled for sentencing in June and faces 230 years in prison.