The verdict is in; jury finds Daniel Stanford guilty

by Patrick Flanagan

A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.

High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford exits the federal courthouse Aug. 29 after being convicted in the Curious Goods conspiracy case.

After standing trial for nearly two weeks, criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford was found guilty Friday afternoon by a federal jury on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy. Stanford, who defended himself, was found guilty on all the conspiracy counts, and the jury split on the money laundering charges.

The 13 counts included conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance analogue (AM-2201) and conspiracy to introduce misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. Stanford was charged in the case for his role in what federal prosecutors said was a highly profitable but illegal synthetic marijuana operation. The synthetic marijuana was sold in Curious Goods stores under the brand Mr. Miyagi.

The feds raided and shut down six Curious Goods stores in December 2011 and unsealed an indictment against Stanford and his co-conspirators the following October.

Stanford was the lone defendant in what was originally a nine-person indictment, which also included charges against Curious Goods owner Richard Buswell, who was originally Stanford's client in a securities fraud scheme. The other co-defendants (seven remained after the death of attorney Barry Domingue, who committed suicide in April during the first Curious Goods trial), Alexander Derrick Reece, Drew T. Green, Thomas Malone Jr., Boyd Anthony Barrow, Joshua Espinoza, Richard Buswell and Dan Francis, have cut plea deals. With the exception of Malone and Buswell, who were not called to testify, they all took the stand for the prosecution.

The Mr. Miyagi product was sold as some sort of potpourri and labeled "not for human consumption," but everyone involved in the case, including Stanford, knew it was sold soley for its marijuana-like high.

Stanford, who said in closing arguments Thursday that the former co-defendants lied in their testimony in hopes of securing favorable treatment at sentencing, vowed in court Friday that he will appeal.

"Some of these people pled guilty almost two years ago, and none of them have been sentenced," Stanford said Thursday. "But they all claim to tell the truth. When you're neck is on the chopping block, you'll say just about anything."

But that's not the way Assistant U.S. Attorney Collin Sims couched it, and the jury bought Sims's argument. "This case is all about greed, money, lies and drugs," Sims told jurors Thursday, repeating the same line from his opening statements. "Stanford figured out a way to scam $6 million in drug money. Instead of defending a drug dealer Stanford became one."

U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote set a hearing for Sept. 3 on the issue of forfeiture of some of Stanford's assets. Stanford was not taken into custody.

Attorney Bill Goode, Stanford's friend who provided him with legal assistance in the case, has maintained Stanford's innocence. "He's still innocent," Goode told The IND when exiting the federal courthouse. "He's going to appeal."

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