Friday, January 6, 2017
Twelve Jurors, Three Alternates Selected
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
With opening statements just days away, twelve jurors and three alternates have been chosen to hear the second degree murder charges against the part owner of a Massachusetts drug compounding firm blamed in the deaths of 76 patients.
The jurors were selected today from a panel of 175 called to jury duty earlier this week. They will hear the case by federal prosecutors against Barry J. Cadden, who has been charged with racketeering and 25 counts of second degree murder.
Five men and ten women were selected to hear the case which could last several months. Opening arguments are scheduled to begin Monday morning in U.S. District Court in Boston, Mass.
U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns is presiding over the case. A former federal prosecutor, Stearns was presiding over the trial of mobster James "Whitey" Bulger until Bulger's lawyers succeeded in having him disqualified due to his role at the U.S. Justice Department while the case was being investigated.
Cadden's legal team is headed by Bruce Singal, a veteran criminal defense lawyer, who once served as the head of the state Consumer's Council.
Pretrial filings indicate that Cadden will contend that he was not personally aware of adverse laboratory reports and other warning signs that NECC was producing highly contaminated drugs.
In papers filed by codefendant Glenn Chin, Chin's lawyer stated that he had learned that Cadden planned to blame Chin for all the lapses.
NECC has been blamed by state and federal regulators for the deadly 2012 outbreak of fungal meningitis. Court filings in a related case show that some 76 patients died in the outbreak, out of 778 who were sickened.
The victims were injected with methylprednisolone acetate riddled with fungus. One federal regulator referred to the NECC Framingham, Mass. operation as a "fungal zoo."
The company ceased operations in the fall of 2012 and filed for bankruptcy at year's end.