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Dr. Stan Li should receive more than 10 years in prison, prosecutors urge court

Dr. Stan Xuhui Li walks from the State

Dr. Stan Xuhui Li walks from the State Supreme Court building in Lower Manhattan Friday, June 20, 2014. Far right is Li's attorney Raymond Belair. Credit: Craig Ruttle

Pain-prescription peddler Dr. Stan Li should serve more than 10 years in prison for his role in recklessly doling out painkillers to Medford pharmacy killer David Laffer and dozens of others, prosecutors said in a court filing Monday.

Li was convicted in July of manslaughter for prescribing painkillers that killed two men, as well as six counts of criminal endangerment and 180 counts of illegal sales that included prescriptions for Laffer in the months before he gunned down four in the 2011 robbery.

"The Laffer tragedy underscores how much defendant set at risk when he sold prescriptions widely to an addicted population with no regard whatsoever for the secondary consequences," prosecutors Peter Kougasian and Charlotte Fishman wrote.

Li, 60, a New Jersey anesthesiologist whose loose practices at a weekend Queens pain clinic he ran made him a poster boy for opioid abuse, is believed to have been the first doctor convicted of manslaughter in New York for his prescribing behavior.

His sentencing is set for Dec. 12 by Judge Michael Sonberg in state court in Manhattan. Prosecutors called for a combined sentence of 12 to 20 years on all charges, which would keep him jailed for 10 years and three months after credits for good behavior.

According to a testimony at his 3 1/2-month trial, Li made more than $450,000 in three years from his one-day-a-week Queens clinic, providing frequent refills despite obvious signs of abuse by patients caught up in cycles of pain addiction and physical and mental decay.

The manslaughter convictions involved Joseph Haeg, 37, of East Moriches, and Nicholas Rappold, 21, of Queens, who each overdosed within days of getting a prescription from Li. At least seven of his patients died of overdoses.

Prosecutors urged Sonberg to "make it clear . . . that the sale of prescriptions for controlled substances cannot and will not be tolerated."

Li's defense lawyer did not respond Monday to questions about the sentencing.

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