Most men would not want to be in a room with their estranged wife, current girlfriend and two former mistresses, but Allen Stanford is not most men.
The women, who have enjoyed million-dollar homes and luxury lifestyles, appear united in their loyalty to the Texas financier who faces criminal charges for an alleged $7 billion Ponzi scheme.
Stanford's lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, cites the support of Stanford's unconventional extended family in arguments to overturn a ruling keeping Stanford in a federal detention center without bail.
They are committed to fighting Mr. Stanford's battle together, DeGuerin wrote in a recent court filing.
Stanford, whose net worth was estimated at $2.2 billion by Forbes magazine in 2008, was initially granted bail by a magistrate judge, but prosecutors successfully argued he was a flight risk and his release order was revoked.
Both times Stanford, 59, has appeared before a judge in Houston, his supporters have included his parents and extended family, former lovers who are the mothers of his children, some of whom have been in court, and his current girlfriend.
The women appear to be on good terms, despite the potential for bad blood. They patiently sit through hours of hearings, rolling their eyes at the prosecutors' allegations, passing notes, sharing mints and gum and whispering to each other. They come in a group, sit in a group, and avoid reporters.
It is not uncommon to have family support in a case like this, said Douglas Burns, a former federal prosecutor who now has his own firm in Westbury, New York. But it is very unusual to have this type of dynamic.
CIRCLING THE WAGONS
Stanford's backers are showing their support outside the courtroom as well. Andrea Stoelker, Stanford's 31-year old girlfriend, put him up in her mother's basement in Virginia after a court-appointed receiver seized the billionaire's assets.
Stoelker, a petite brunette who used to work for Stanford, traveled extensively with him on company jets and moved to Houston where she had planned to live with the 6-foot four-inch billionaire in a luxury high-rise.
I've got people that love me and care about me, Stanford said in an April interview. I'm better off than I have been in my whole life right now.
Louise Sage, the mother of two of Stanford's six children, Ross and R. Allena, once lived with Stanford in South Florida and has signed a $7,000 a month lease for an apartment in the same building as girlfriend Stoelker.
An acquaintance of Stanford's 27-year-old daughter, Randi, agreed to pay one year's rent -- $36,000 cash -- for the apartment where Stanford and Stoelker planned to live.
Randi's mother, Susan Stanford, filed for divorce last year, but she has been separated from Allen Stanford for a decade.
One of Stanford's sons, Reid, has moved to Houston from Frisco, Texas where he lives with his mother -- another woman who is also called Susan Stanford -- to finish his senior year of high school, according to DeGuerin.
Rebecca Reeves-Stanford, who is the mother of two of his children, including Robert Allen Stanford, has not been mentioned in any of DeGuerin's filings and it is not clear whether she has attended any court hearings.
Court records indicate that Stanford, who says he is now penniless because a court-appointed receiver has frozen his assets, has been very generous.
Before the asset freeze, Susan received $100,000 per month in spousal support payments from her husband and lived in a 5-bedroom Houston home with a pool appraised at $2.5 million on the county tax roll.
Randi, who also worked at Stanford, lives in a luxury condominium high-rise in Houston valued at more than $1 million, a gift from her father. Court records show Stanford put down a $1 million deposit on the apartment in 2007, while Susan pitched in $50,000.
Court records from a 2007 paternity lawsuit show that Louise Sage and her children were also very well provided for by Stanford. The group lived in a $10 million castle in Florida, flew on the company's jets and took six-figure vacations.
The respondent (Stanford) has provided a privileged and luxurious lifestyle for the children, including, but not limited to, private school, designer clothes, first-class vacations, a personal support staff and extracurricular activities including dance, gymnastics and music lessons, said the paternity lawsuit, which was later settled.
Stanford paid about $150,000 a year in child support for the two children, according to court documents, an amount a judge in the case described as quite generous.