Magistrate: Confession by Kansas City pharmacist should be admissible at diluted drug trial
Thursday, January 24th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The confession of a pharmacist accused of diluting chemotherapy drugs for profit should be allowed at his trial, a federal magistrate recommended.
Attorneys for Robert R. Courtney argued he confessed because he thought he was negotiating a plea agreement. Such a confession would not be admissible at trial.
U.S. Magistrate Robert E. Larsen rejected that argument Tuesday, saying that it was clear no plea offer was made and that Courtney's attorney had been told the government wasn't interested in negotiating.
A federal judge will make the final decision.
Courtney, 49, faces 20 federal charges of diluting, adulterating and misbranding the chemotherapy drugs Gemzar and Taxol. Prosecutors have said he told the FBI he diluted more than 100 doses of drugs because he owed more than $600,000 in taxes and $330,000 on a pledge to his church.
Courtney, who has pleaded innocent, was first interviewed by federal agents in August, when they raided his pharmacy.
According to court documents, they told Courtney they believed the public was at risk and that he could help by telling them which drugs were diluted and to whom they were sent.
Courtney's attorney, J.R. Hobbs, said he would consider appealing, but had no other comment.