There is something unpleasant but human about wishing a serious amount of ill on significant villains, or chuckling when they suffer. Stories claimed last year, for example, that Bernie Madoff was dying of cancer, which he wasn’t, and then that he was badly injured by either a fall out of bed or an assault after a fight over money.
So it hasn’t been surprising that a pair of excruciating photos of Allen Stanford–“Bloodied and shackled,” The Daily Mail announced–has been making the rounds today. Posts have gone up from the Times and the Journal to Dealbreaker and Business Insider, where Henry Blodget’s headline said he “Got The Crap Beaten Out Of Him In Prison.” A parenthetical aside at the bottom said to keep in mind that Mr. Stanford “hasn’t been convicted of anything yet.”
The news of the fight, which took place more than a year ago, was broken after it happened. What’s new are the photographs, in which Mr. Stanford looks cinematically horrible. Besides the injuries to his face, the bottom of his feet are stained red, as if he’d been in a pool of blood.
According to the Mail, he “suffered fractures to his eye socket, cheek bones and severe bruising to his body,” “lost all feeling in the right side of his face” and had been attacked in a dark cell built for eight inmates that was holding 14. The court-appointed psychiatrist said he “described himself as a breathing corpse with increased episodes of despair, hopelessness and helplessness.”
Mr. Stanford, once one of the wealthiest men in the world, started his career with a chain of Texas bodybuilding gyms, before shifting into real estate investment and then offshore banks. He is awaiting trial, and pleaded not-guilty last summer to the charges that he ran a $7 billion Ponzi scheme. “You and every other son of a bitch asking me these questions,” he told GQ then. “You sons of bitches, all you want to talk about is something sexy! I was not defrauding people! There was no hocus-pocus.”