Jordan Hart, the son of an ex-Islanders stalwart charged with supplying painkillers to the late New York Rangers hockey enforcer Derek Boogaard, is trying to negotiate a deferred prosecution agreement to avoid a criminal conviction, his lawyer told a judge Thursday.
Hart, 31, of Huntington, the son of former defenseman Gerry Hart, was charged in September with feeding Boogaard's painkiller addiction by illegally supplying him with Percocet. Boogaard died of an overdose in 2011.
At a status hearing in federal court in Manhattan, defense attorney Robert LaRusso told U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald that instead of scheduling a trial, time was needed for prosecutors to consider the request for a disposition without conviction.
"There are tremendous extenuating circumstances in this case," LaRusso said. He declined after the hearing to elaborate or detail why Hart might deserve favorable treatment.
Typically, under a deferred prosecution agreement, low-level offenders without a record may be able to avoid conviction and jail time by complying with a series of probation-type conditions, sometimes with community service, and staying out of trouble.
Prosecutor Daniel Tehrani said typically six weeks are needed for the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to consider such requests. But he did not tip his hand on whether Hart was likely to qualify, and declined to comment afterward.
The judge scheduled another hearing on April 23. LaRusso said that if prosecutors do not agree to deferred prosecution, he will try to negotiate a plea. Hart faces up to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, a component of Percocet.
Hart was charged in September along with Oscar Johnson, 59, a medical assistant from Utah who got to know Hart when he played minor league hockey and later supplied him with prescriptions for Percocet. Hart allegedly filled them and resold them.
A lawyer for Johnson said at Thursday's hearing that he reached an agreement on a guilty plea, but did not specify what it would be for.
Boogaard, according to the complaint, stopped playing in the National Hockey League after suffering a concussion in late 2010, and became a serious abuser of oxycodone and Ambien. Prosecutors said he regularly traveled to Huntington to buy pills from Hart.
He died May 12, 2011, of mixed alcohol and oxycodone toxicity. Hart is not charged with supplying the actual pills that caused Boogaard's death.