Friday, August 12, 2016
Conigliaros Seek Bar on Victims' Impact Statements
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
The two defendants in the drug compounding criminal case who recently pled guilty to charges they violated a law governing bank account withdrawals are asking a federal judge to bar the use of victims' impact statements at their November sentencing.
The lawyer for Douglas and Carla Conigliaro filed a motion Thursday charging that use of impact statements from victims of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak was totally unjustified based on the crimes his clients were charged with.
"There is no basis legally, factually, procedurally or otherwise for the court to consider such statements at the Conigliaros' sentencing hearing," the filing states.
The two pled guilty to structuring bank account withdrawals to avoid triggering a federal law requiring the reporting of transactions exceeding $10,000.
In the 10-page motion filed by the Conigliaros' attorney, David Meier, said he heard for the first time when his clients submitted their guilty pleas that the government was planning to use victims' impact statements at the November sentencing hearing.
Stating that the charges against his clients were "in sharp contrast" to the charges pending against the other defendants, all with connections to the New England Compounding Center, the firm blamed for the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak. The outbreak sickened 778 patients, killing 77 of them.
NECC, state and federal regulators have concluded, shipped thousands of vials of fungus laden steroids that were then shipped to health care facilities across the country.
"The approximately $124,000 in cash withdrawals that the Conigliaros structured was legitimately earned income that had been lawfully deposited into their neighborhood family bank accounts," the motion states.
Carla Conigliaro was the majority owner of NECC and Douglas headed an affiliated drug sales company. They were among 14 indicated in late 2014 by a federal grand jury probing the meningitis outbreak.
The other defendants face charges ranging from second degree murder to racketeering and mail and wire fraud. They have all entered not guilty pleas
The two facing second degree murder charges, Barry Cadden and Glen Chin, are scheduled to go on trial Jan. 5, 2017.
"Carla Conigliaro and Douglas Conigliaro had nothing to do with the day-to-day operations or management of NECC or with any criminal activity that may have occurred there," the Thursday motion states.
The motion noted that U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns, prior to the plea agreement, had dismissed many of the charges, including 18 counts of criminal contempt, brought against his clients in the 2014 indictment.
"In short, at no time throughout the pendency of this case has the government alleged that Carla and Douglas Conigliaro played any role in (or had any knowledge of) of the alleged criminal activity at NECC," the filing concludes