Jury selection begins in Stanford fraud trial

By JUAN A. LOZANO | January 23, 2012 | 12:35 PM EST

HOUSTON (AP) — Jury selection has begun in the oft-delayed trial of jailed Texas financier R. Allen Stanford, who is accused of bilking investors out of $7 billion in a vast Ponzi scheme.

A federal court judge in Houston is expected to spend Monday questioning prospective jurors. Opening arguments are expected to start Tuesday.

Stanford's attorneys have said they expect him to testify.

Stanford was indicted more than 2½ years ago but his trial was delayed while he was treated at a prison hospital for an addiction to an anti-anxiety drug.

Prosecutors say Stanford funded a lavish lifestyle with the money of depositors. His financial empire stretched from the U.S. to Latin American and the Caribbean.

He denies wrongdoing.