LOS ANGELES, California – A judge has determined that Tom Girardi, the disgraced former attorney, is competent to stand trial for wire fraud charges. The decision, revealed in a recently unsealed 52-page document, comes after allegations of faking memory problems by Girardi, known for his involvement with reality star Erika Jayne and a high-profile legal career.
U.S. Dist. Judge Josephine Staton raised doubts about Girardi’s credibility in her ruling. She stated that his denial of knowledge or memory loss regarding the charges against him lacked credibility. Moreover, the judge cited evidence suggesting that Girardi purposefully portrayed himself as mentally unfit, including his claims of not remembering his wife and his selection of a shabby cardigan instead of his usual well-tailored suits during court proceedings.
During a clinical interview, Girardi was shown to answer a phone call from his wife, accurately recalling her plans to fly to Spain that day. This contradicted his claimed memory loss regarding his spouse. The judge also highlighted how Girardi would search through a hamper to find the ill-fitting and hole-ridden sweater before important meetings with psychological experts, suggesting conscious decision-making rather than memory problems.
Girardi’s lawyers have argued that due to his residency in a dementia ward and lack of short-term memory, he cannot properly participate in his own defense. However, the judge concluded that while Girardi’s advanced age might limit his assistance to his legal team, his actual cognitive abilities were not as severe as claimed.
The 84-year-old attorney, accused of involvement in a $100-million scheme defrauding his law firm clients, had a plea of not guilty entered on his behalf by a magistrate judge last year due to concerns over his competency. With the recent ruling, normal proceedings are set to resume, and a hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
In her decision, Judge Staton acknowledged that Girardi’s advanced age might diminish his abilities compared to his prime as a civil trial attorney. Nevertheless, she determined that his current abilities were not as compromised as he presented, emphasizing that he still retained the ability to properly assist in his defense.
Tom Girardi’s trial for wire fraud charges stemming from a long-standing scheme, which allegedly deprived law firm clients of millions of dollars, will continue. The judge’s ruling, based on evidence that Girardi was faking his memory problems and lacked credibility, allows for the resumption of regular legal proceedings in the case.