United States v. Purpera

The defendant is entitled to judgment of acquittal on only one of 69 counts for which a jury found him guilty at trial. His trial counsel’s conflict of interest did not impair representation.

As a physician, the defendant was charged with making false statements to a drug supplier by denying that he personally used any of the drugs; denying that he treated his spouse, family, or friends with the drugs; and asserting that he administered the drugs to his patients. Count 21 concerned testosterone, which he implied – but didn’t state – would be administered to his patients and not himself. Evidence was insufficient for conviction on this count.

Trial counsel’s improper contacts with witnesses during litigation had led federal authorities to investigate him for criminal misconduct, which created a conflict of interest. The defendant wasn’t advised of the possible implications of the conflict and therefore couldn’t knowingly waive it. However, the conflict didn’t impair representation, so a new trial wasn’t warranted.

United States v. Purpera, No. 7:17cr79, Sept. 18, 2018. WDVA at Roanoke (Dillon).

Categories: Opinions, U.S. District Court - Western District of Virginia

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