Prosecutors plan to call Laffer, Brady as witnesses against pill doctor
Federal prosecutors plan to use the testimony of convicted Medford pharmacy killer David Laffer and his wife, Melinda Brady, against a Great Neck doctor charged with illegally distributing large quantities of oxycodone and other painkillers.
Eastern District Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Treinis Gatz made the disclosure Friday at a hearing for Dr. Eric Jacobson in federal court in Central Islip.
Laffer and Brady were recently moved from state prisons to the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn in order to be available for the Jacobson trial, according to sources familiar with the case.
The trial had been scheduled to start March 17 but has been postponed indefinitely due to a new 262-count indictment.
Laffer, 36, is serving a life sentence at the prison in upstate Dannemora in the Father's Day 2011 slayings of four people in a Medford pharmacy. Brady, 32, has been serving a 25-year sentence in the women's prison in Bedford Hills for helping plan the robbery and driving the getaway car.
Gatz did not say in court whether Laffer or Brady have agreed to testify for the government.
The prosecutor declined to comment afterward. It wasn't immediately clear what options the government had in case the pair refused to cooperate.
Jacobson's attorney, Bruce Barket of Garden City, called the government's plan to use Laffer and Brady as witnesses "a thinly-veiled attempt to unfairly inflame the jury."
"It runs the risk of backfiring on the government, given the individuals' lack of credibility," he said after the hearing.
Jacobson, held without bail since his arrest in June 2012, was arraigned Friday on a superseding indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, and 261 counts of illegally distributing either oxycodone or hydrocodone. Each of the distribution counts involves Jacobson illegally issuing a prescription to a person for one of the narcotics.
Seven counts accuse Jacobson of illegally giving Laffer prescriptions for hydrocodone between September 2010 and June 2011 -- a few days before the Medford murders, Gatz said.
Ten counts involve Jacobson illegally prescribing hydrocodone for Brady, and one count for illegally prescribing oxycodone for her. The prescriptions were written between August 2010 and April 2011, Gatz said.
Jacobson pleaded not guilty Friday before U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco.
If convicted, Jacobson could theoretically face up to 20 years on each count.
During the hearing, Barket attempted to suppress statements the government says Jacobson made that implicate him in illegal distribution of the painkillers, including writing prescriptions for Brady and leaving them outside his Huntington home in return for her leaving cash.
Under questioning by Gatz, Internal Revenue Service agent Jerry Ricciardi said the doctor admitted he left the prescriptions under the doormat out of "compassion" for Brady, noting that he monitored her condition by telephone.
Bianco did not immediately rule on the defense motion.