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With Opioids Verdict in Oklahoma SDNY Cases Continue With Murky Pleas and Sentencings

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 26 – Amid the opioids and corporate drug-dealing crisis, on August 26 Oklahoma judge Thad Balkman found Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries helped fuel the state’s drug crisis and ordered the J&J to pay $572 million to contributed to address the problem. In the SDNY it was announced on August 2: "10:30 a.m. – Proceeding of interest in U.S. v. Dialecti Voudouris – the defendant is charged with participating in a scheme to receive bribes and kickbacks in the form of fees for sham educational programs from a pharmaceutical company in exchange for prescribing millions of dollars’ worth of a potent fentanyl-based spray manufactured by the pharma company – before Judge Wood (courtroom 26A, 500 Pearl Street)."

  Inner City Press went to the 26th floor but the courtroom was locked. Checking down in the Magistrates Court on the fifth floor, Ms. Voudouris and her lawyers were quickly pleading guilty before Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang, to taking money from Insys to push Subsys to her patients in exchange for speaker fees, that is, kick-backs.

 But there was a problem. Ms. Voudouris couldn't not say that she knew it was illegal, in 2016, and a Manhattan speaker fee in October 2014, $3000, check number 27558.

 All she could say is it was wrong. Or wrongful. But did she know it was illegal? She did not say she did.

  Still the plea was taken. The Assistant US Attorney said they would - would, not could - show at trial that she had been trained about the anti kickback statute. Is that enough?

  The sentencing will not be, by the government's request, until after Christmas. Inner City Press will stay on this case, working for now perched over the PACER terminal in the 500 Pearl Street Press Room. Watch this site.

 While many even most cases in the Magistrates Court of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York are sealed or have case numbers given only later, on August 1 before Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang, at least one case had no number at all. A defendant named Edwin Gonzalez was presented as just in from Rikers Island, remanded on the consent of his CJA lawyer and in need of methodone. Later on August 1, also remanded but with a case number because indicted and extradited from Estonia which got consular notice was Nikolai Niftalijev, charged with narcotics inportation conspiracy. He's set to resurface on August 6 before SDNY Judge Oetken. Inner City Press aims to be there.

   Remands were to the Metropolitan Correctional Center - where as Inner City Press has exclusively exclusively reported fellow non-reporting sex offender Jeffrey Epstein is hogging the legal meeting room with paid lawyers working in shifts so he can be out of his cell, using the Internet.

 Inner City Press will continue to try to find the missing cases on the Press Room PACER terminal it has worked perched over for months. Watch this site.



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