Vietnamese pharmacist says race a factor in case against him

By Steve Phillips – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The attorney for Nick Tran claims that "race" is a factor in the federal case against the Biloxi pharmacist.

Attorney David Morrison filed a memorandum in federal court Thursday which says Tran is innocent and is being prosecuted because he is Vietnamese. The brief also suggests the government showed an "unlawful bias" by leaking to the news media the raid on Tran's pharmacy and an adjoining medical clinic.

You'll recall Nick Tran is accused of participating in a conspiracy to dole out prescription narcotics; drugs which were prescribed by Dr. Thomas Trieu at his Family Medical Center on Division Street.

Pharmacist Tran is the last of four defendants in the case. His trial was supposed to begin in late October, but was delayed when his lawyers were not prepared.

In the memorandum filed Thursday, Tran's lawyer, David Morrison said his client is being targeted based on race. Morrison's brief points out that another pharmacist, a Caucasian, was filling similar prescriptions alongside Nick Tran, but that man was not charged.

Tran's lawyer also argues that other pharmacies in the area had filled narcotics prescriptions written by Dr. Trieu without any prosecution. The memo also points out that each of the defendants in this case is of Asian descent.

As for the DEA raid on the medical clinic and pharmacy, attorney Morrison said the government "leaking" information about the arrests was most damaging. The memo said the intentional leak and subsequent news coverage did nothing but poison the public's view of the defendants, poisoned a potential jury pool and potentially compromised the safety of officers and civilians.

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