GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) - Two doctors who used to run clinics in Colorado could be moving closer to trial three years after they were indicted on charges of overprescribing painkillers that killed four people.
A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the complexity of the case against Eric Peper of Summerland Key, Florida, and Sam Jahani of Beaumont, Texas, will require two trials. The first will focus on drug allegations and patient deaths and the second will deal mainly with money laundering and health care fraud allegations, The Daily Sentinel reported (https://bit.ly/1z25BG6 ).
U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello didn’t set a date for the trials but signaled she is becoming impatient with both federal prosecutors and the doctors’ lawyers.
“The court takes this step to avoid unfair prejudice to the defendants and to bring under control what has become an unmanageable and excessively delayed criminal proceeding,” Arguello wrote in the ruling.
Peper worked for Jahani, who formerly operated Urgent Care Inc. with clinics in Delta, Montrose and Grand Junction. The clinics were shut down after a raid by the Drug Enforcement Administration on Oct. 14, 2009.
The two first were indicted in August 2011, and both have pleaded not guilty.
They are accused of causing the overdose deaths of four patients, who are identified in court documents only by their initials - “D.T.,” ”C.L.,” ”V.A.” and “Ke.G.”
Prosecutors also allege that drugs supplied by the doctors led to an increase in addicts and overdoses in the three western Colorado areas where they operated clinics.
Information from: The Daily Sentinel, https://www.gjsentinel.com
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