U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns has denied a last minute dismissal motion on second degree murder charges filed in behalf of Barry Cadden, the former part owner of a drug company blamed for a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak.
In an order issued in U.S. District Court in Boston, Mass. Stearns concluded that the indictment of Cadden "states the essential elements of second degree murder."
Bruce A. Singal, Cadden's attorney, filed the dismissal motion earlier this month. Cadden is scheduled to go on trial Jan. 4 on charges including 25 counts of second degree murder. Singal had argued there was insufficient evidence to prove the murder allegations.
He also had asked Stearns, for a second time, to force the U.S. Attorney to disclose the specific instructions prosecutors gave to the grand jury that issued the indictment in late 2014.
"There is no potential deficiency with the legal instructions to the grand jury that cannot be cured at trial," Stearns added.
The judge, in a separate brief decision, defended a recent decision separating the trials of Cadden and codefendant Glenn Chin, who also faces the second degree murder charges.
Stearns wrote that the severance order will stand, citing the competing defenses raised by the two defendants. He said that a decision on what evidence of the deaths will be allowed at trial could be addressed either at trial or by a motion to limit the death evidence.
Cadden previously agreed to stipulate that the 25 deaths were caused by the injection of those patients with drugs produced at the New England Compounding Center, the entity blamed by health regulators for the outbreak.
He also deferred action on a motion by prosecutors to block from the Cadden trial evidence of a settlement of civil suits brought by outbreak victims. Cadden and other former owners of NECC contributed nearly $50 million to that settlement.
"The court is not certain, in any event, what use defendant would have for the evidence as it might otherwise tend to imply an admission of guilt," Stearns concluded.
Chin's trial is set to begin as soon as Cadden's is completed. Other NECC defendants are scheduled for trial in April.