Stan Curtis called "solidly competent" to stand trial - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Stan Curtis called "solidly competent" to stand trial

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A government psychiatrist on Friday called the man accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the charity he founded "solidly competent" to stand trial.

Months ago, Stan Curtis wanted to enter a guilty plea -- but a defendant cannot do that if there is a question about his mental soundness. A government psychiatrist, Dr. Amy Trivette, said on Friday that in her second assessment of Curtis, he showed more understanding, reasoning, and intellect. 

On the other side is Dr. Walter Butler, who agreed with most of the state psychiatrist's findings except for one -- Butler found that Curtis can't explain things -- that he lacks details and memory, which means he cannot participate in his own defense. 

If Curtis is found incompetent, then U.S. prosecutors can ask for a judge's hearing to determine competency.   If the judge also decides Curtis is not competent, then Curtis would be taken into federal custody for treatment. It is not clear how long the treatment could last.

If Curtis is found competent by the defense's individual report, or by the judge later on, the case would move forward. Curtis is founder of USA Harvest and stands accused of stealing more than $180,000 from the organization and spending another $370,000 on meals, entertainment, and travel.

Curtis, who is in his early 60s, has been in court looking frail and confused. Last month, Curtis' attorney, Scott Cox, commented on his condition.

"He suffers from Wernicke Syndrome, which is brain damage brought on by malnutrition. He lost almost a hundred pounds very rapidly," said Cox.

His attorney said his condition was improving, but added he still has serious health issues.

Curtis is charged with mail fraud, money laundering, and filing false tax returns. The charges carry the potential for 52 years in prison and a more than $1 million fine.

The judge is expected to rule next Thursday.  The attorney for Stan Curtis, Scott Cox, said, "And if he finds that he's competent, we may very well make an attempt to enter a guilty plea.  We'll just see how it goes."

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