Has ever a public figure come completely unhinged so quickly and publicly as "Sir" Allen Stanford? Who? Richard Nixon? Lindsay Lohan?
Stanford -- whose sordid fall from grace we brought you last month -- has now given two interviews in the weeks since the SEC charged his company with running an $8 billion Ponzi scheme.
In the first, he wept openly, complained bitterly that the SEC took away his private jets and deprived him of being listed on Forbes list of the wealthiest people, and threatened to punch a reporter from ABC News right "in the mouth."
In the second -- just published in the New York Times -- he once again employed the time-tested public relations trick of threatening reporters with physical violence. As the Times' photographer shot photos during the interview, Stanford suddenly snapped that the clicking affected him like "Pavlov's dog" and noted, "I start to get the itch to grab someone by the throat."
Stanford followed that gem up by asking the photog if he might like any photos of him strangling the reporter.
As we noted in our profile, it's not exactly the first sign that Allen Stanford might be a couple hamburgers short of a Happy Meal. From the faux English title to the six kids by four women to the cricket obsession to the persistant rumors that he carried a vial of blood from a priest with stigmata in his briefcase, ol' Sir Allen wasn't your typical billionaire Texan.
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Still, it's a little shocking in this age of carefully scripted apologies and denials to see so prominent a figure so incredibly over the edge in his interviews.
After threatening to strangle the Gray Lady's journalists, Stanford once again welled up with tears, decried the SEC's "Gestapo tactics" and proclaimed his innocence. He also sought to shift blame for any wrongdoing to his former No. 2, James Davis, who is cooperating with the SEC against his ex-boss.
Davis' lawyer had a memorable comeback, noting that "Stanford blew more money on a weekend cricket match than he paid Mr. Davis in the past 10 years."