- Associated Press - Thursday, November 6, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The lawyer for a former New Orleans police officer says his client shot and killed himself two days into a federal trial on charges that he took money and sexual favors to protect alleged “pill mills” while he was on a federal drug enforcement task force.

Donald Nides, 64, shot himself overnight Tuesday in his River Ridge home, Arthur “Buddy” Lemann said.

Lemann said he thought Nides had a good chance of acquittal. “I thought we were definitely in the game,” he told The New Orleans Advocate (https://bit.ly/13MhUwo ).

He said he felt that former colleagues’ attitude during testimony Tuesday had devastated Nides.

“There was a certain amount of eagerness … that really crushed him,” Lemann told NOLA.com ‘ The Times-Picayune (https://bit.ly/1s94LSr ).

Authorities were notified of Nides’ death about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jefferson Parish Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich said.

Charges against him included conspiracy to dispense prescription pain pills, lying to federal investigators and obstruction of justice in a case involving pain clinics owned by Tiffany Gambino Miller in Metairie and Slidell, who pleaded guilty.

U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan confirmed Nides’ suicide during a brief hearing Wednesday to dismiss the charges at prosecutors’ request. The jury was not present.

Miller had not testified. Prosecutors said she would testify that she performed oral sex on Nides and gave him envelopes of cash many times from 2007 to 2008, and in exchange got advice about how to keep investigators from learning that she was running clinics where doctors freely wrote prescriptions for powerful painkillers.

Records filed with plea agreements from Miller and Dr. Joseph Morgan III, who ran one clinic, described weekly or biweekly payments of $600 to $2,000 to Nides.

Morgan testified that the clinics brought in $1.5 million a year which he split with Miller.

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