Federal Prescription Drug Trial Postponed - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Federal Prescription Drug Trial Postponed

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Their federal trial has been postponed, bond will be reconsidered and new charges could be coming. That's the latest news from a high profile prescription narcotics case that was back in court Wednesday.

It was a very busy pre-trial conference in downtown Gulfport. As Judge Louis Guirola put it,  "the complexity of this case is changing."

The case involves Dr. Thomas Trieu, his wife Dr. Victoria Van, and two other defendants. They were all arrested and have been in jail, without bond, since late May.

That's when Dr. Trieu's medical clinic on Division Street, and an adjoining pharmacy, were raided by federal agents. The government claims the defendants were involved in distributing prescription narcotics to patients who didn't need the drugs.

Wednesday, prosecutors asked for a 60 day continuance and were granted an indefinite delay. Prosecutor Annette Williams told the judge the government will also seek a "superceding indictment" from a grand jury later this month. That means the defendants may face additional, perhaps more serious charges.

But defense attorneys say the move is more the sign of a weak case by the government.

Michael Crosby is Dr. Victoria Van's attorney.

"That's typical. The government often will do that. They issue an indictment and then take a look at it and say, 'Hey wait, we need to start over and try to make it a little bit worse than what we did.' It happens all the time," he said.

"The government's position has been this. We'll keep them in jail, hope they'll want to get out, throw them a bone, they'll roll over and say we're wrong, we're guilty, let us out of jail. They give 'em probation. It didn't happen. The government's now in a real precarious position," said attorney David Morrison, who represents defendant Nick Tran.

Outside federal court, Dr. Van's sister proclaimed her innocence and said she's not worried by the prospect of more charges.

"No. I know that my sister is innocent. We just want justice for her and we want her out on bail. She deserves that much," said the sister.

The case will be back in federal court this Tuesday morning, August 12th. That's when Judge Guirola will reconsider the request for bond. Federal magistrate John Roper previously denied bond for all four defendants, calling them a flight risk.

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