Monday, January 23, 2017
Key Witness Challenged in Cadden Trial
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
BOSTON, Mass. A key prosecution witness was challenged repeatedly today by attorneys for Barry J. Cadden, who is on trial on charges that could put him in jail for life.
Cadden's lawyer, Michele Peirce, asked Joseph Connolly how he could possibly have seen Cadden from the safe room at the New England Compounding Center when there were two walls between Connelly's vantage point and Cadden's office.
The lengthy questioning came as the racketeering and second degree murder trial of Cadden entered its third week in U.S. District Court.
Cadden is the first to go on trial in the indictment stemming from the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak. State and federal regulators say the Cadden's company, the New England Compounding Center, sent out fungus riddled steroids that sickened 778 unsuspecting patients, killing 76 of them beginning in the Fall of 2012.
Connolly, a pharmacy technician, who was questioned Friday by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Strachan, testifed that he saw Cadden conferring with NECC supervising pharmacist Glenn Chin, just before he was ordered by Chin to send out an order of drugs made under a new formulation without first having it tested.
The incident came just a day after Connolly testified he and other employees were informed of a new "bullet proof" policy calling for all NECC products to be tested before shipping to customers.
Responding to Peirce's questions, Connolly that he could see the Cadden, Chin and a third NECC employee conferring because the door to Cadden's office was open.
Peirce then questioned whether there was such a door, stating it was not indicated in a blueprint for the NECC building.
"I could see Barry's office door," Connolly stated. "There was a doorway."
Despite the grilling, Connolly stood firm on his previous testimony about an array of apparent problems at NECC's Framingham, Mass. facility including mold and rusting equipment in the clean or sterile room and the use of drug components beyond their expiration dates.
"There was rust all over the place," Connolly said.
Asked why he didn't bring his concerns directly to Cadden, Connolly said he had heard that another employee was fired after going over Chin's head to bring complaints directly to Cadden.
Peirce also challenged Connolly's testimony about the use of expired drugs, stating that there was a blue container in the clean room where expired drugs were deposited for disposal by an outside company.
Connolly said that that was not the case with all expired drugs.
Peirce asked whether Connolly had yelled at another NECC employee who was supposed to be performing tests to ensure that the clean room was sterile.
Connolly said that he didn't think the worker was qualified for her job and she spent most of her time gossiping.