Nick Tran jury retires, deliberations resume Thursday morning - - The News for South Mississippi

Nick Tran jury retires, deliberations resume Thursday morning

By Steve Phillips – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The jury has retired for the night. They will head back into deliberations Thursday morning at 9:00 am. 

The fate of Biloxi pharmacist Nick Tran is in the hands of a federal jury as of 12:30 pm on Wednesday afternoon. Tran is accused of conspiring to fill hundreds of illegal prescriptions.

The jury listened to a week and a half of testimony about the activities at Tran's Pharmacy on Division Street in Biloxi and the Family Medical Clinic that the government said sent hundreds of medically necessary prescription to be filled by Tran.

In his closing argument, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Meynardie told the jury, "Nick Tran chose money over his obligation to his patients and us."

Tuesday Meynardie quizzed Tran about gambling debts. Meynardie reminded the jury of that saying, "He needed the money; he wanted the money; he loved it. That's why he threw out his professional responsibility."

Meynardie said Tran happily filled the drug orders written by Dr. Thomas Trieu and Dr. Victoria Van at the clinic next door to his pharmacy. Trieu, Van and the former office manager at that clinic have each pleaded guilty to charges in this case.

The prosecutor told the jury, "They were all making money out of this."

But Meynardie said Tran should have known the prescriptions were not legitimate, telling the jury, "A pharmacist has a moral and legal obligation to screen those drug seekers."

"Nick Tran was supposed to use his intelligence and training and say, 'This is a sham,'" Meynardie said.

Tran's defense attorney David Morrison explained to the jury that the government had not shown any evidence of a conspiracy by Tran.

"Not one witness from the government testified there was conspiracy. There is no conspiracy," Morrison said.

Then, pointing to the U.S. Attorneys, Morrison told the jury, "The conspiracy is over there."

The defense, which brought up the issue of race early in the trial addressed race again.

Morrison reminded the jury, "Only the Asian pharmacist got tagged," referring to the fact no charges were filled against a white man who worked part-time at Tran's Pharmacy.

Morrison also took shots at the government's aggressive prosecution telling jurors to remember, "You are controlling his life. He's just one of us. It could be me next week."

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