A big victory for the defense in the prosecution of the founder and former top executives at opioid manufacturer Insys Therapeutics. A magistrate judge assigned to the case ordered federal prosecutors in the United States Attorney’s Office in Boston to turn over documents in the hands of ten different federal agencies’ that could potentially help the company’s former executives fight racketeering and fraud charges.
In June, the defense filed a Motion for an Order Requiring Government to Produce Exculpatory Materials in the Possession of Sister United States Attorney’s Offices and Federal Agencies. The defense’s motion noted that the same day the Superseding Indictment was unsealed, the United States Attorney’s Office issued a press release acknowledging the joint effort and assistance of six other United States Attorney’s Offices and ten federal agencies that were part of the investigatory team. However, when pressed by the defense for materials in the hands of the other United States Attorney’s Offices and the federal agencies, the prosecutors claimed those offices and federal agencies were not part of the “prosecution team”.
In its Motion, the defense gave examples of potentially exculpatory materials in the hands of the other ten agencies. The examples included “any denials by Insys sales representatives or Insys physicians to any federal agent that speaker program payments were intended to be kickbacks”, “DEA communications that opioid products were not suspicious”, and “DEA or FDA communications acknowledging that off-label use of immediate release fentanyl products, such as Subsys, is medically and scientifically legitimate.”
In Opposition, the thrust of the Government’s argument was that the other offices and the other federal agencies were not part of the prosecution team and as a result its Brady obligations did not extend to those offices. The Government also argued that Defendants didn’t establish that the information sought is material.
The magistrate judge sided with the defense. The judge ordered prosecutors to hand over any documents in the hands of the 10 federal agencies’ that were part of the investigation that could potentially help the company’s former executives fight racketeering and fraud charges. The motion as to the United States Attorney’s Offices was moot because those offices had alerted the court that they did not have any documents.
The Government routinely makes similar arguments related to CMS data in health care fraud prosecutions. Hopefully, this decision paves the way for the release of more information to criminal defendants.
On another note, not sure why the Government wouldn’t want to turn over the information. The Government should be transparent in its production of evidence, especially exculpatory evidence to defendants.