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Archive for Saturday, December 1, 2001

Druggist allegedly had family destroy evidence

December 1, 2001

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— The millionaire pharmacist who allegedly diluted cancer drugs to boost profits called family members from jail and asked them to destroy evidence, the government claims.

Robert R. Courtney has pleaded innocent to 20 federal counts of tampering, adulterating and misbranding two chemotherapy drugs delivered to a Kansas City oncologist.

The druggist has been held without bond since his arrest on Aug. 15, but the defense has again sought his release on bail. A prosecutor made the new allegations Thursday in a filing opposing Courtney's release.

"This evidence is indicative of his willingness to engage in deception and deceit ... even while incarcerated," wrote Assistant U.S. Atty. Gene Porter.

Chris Whitley, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, refused to say Friday whether the family members would face charges or if Courtney would face more. The investigation is ongoing and more charges could result if evidence develops, he said.

Courtney's attorneys did not immediately return calls Friday to The Associated Press, but one of his lawyers said Thursday that he was skeptical of the new accusations.

Porter wrote that Courtney called his wife, Laura, the night of his arrest and asked her to dispose of evidence kept in the trunk of his car. Then, on Aug. 19, Courtney asked his father to get rid of records relating to a "villa" and to an earlier divorce, the motion said.

The phone calls made from a private jail facility in Leavenworth, Kan., were recorded, which is the jail's policy, the filing said.

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