BREAKING: Jury — Former Casper Doctor Kahn Guilty on All Counts
A jury convicted former Casper Dr. Shakeel Kahn of all charges for running a multi-state prescription drug conspiracy, it announced Friday.
"We are very satisfied with the verdict reached by the jury," lead prosecutor Assistant U.S. Attorney said after the court recessed.
"For years, Shakeel Kahn preyed on people who were addicts to oxycodone," Sprecher said. "This verdict serves notice that regardless of [one's] profession, that people who engage in this crime will be prosecuted."
According to federal sentencing guidelines, Shakeel Kahn faces at least 45 years imprisonment for his conviction of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and other drugs including an augmented charge that the drugs caused a death [20 years minimum], running a continuing criminal enterprise [20 years minimum], and having a firearm during a federal drug trafficking crime [five years mimimum].
His brother Nabeel Kahn, hired by Shakeel as his office manager at his office in Fort Mohave, Ariz., was convicted of the conspiracy count but not the additional charge of distributing a drug resulting in death, and for brandishing a firearm during a federal drug trafficking crime. The latter crime is punishable by at least seven years in prison.
The verdict announced at 9:45 a.m. came relatively quickly after the jury already had deliberated since receiving the case on Wednesday morning and came to a halt Thursday Thursday when a juror was released from jury service for what court minutes described as "distress" without going into further detail.
U.S. District Court Alan Johnson named an alternative, and told the jury to begin its deliberations anew. The jury received the case Wednesday morning after closing arguments and jury instructions.
The attorneys, people in the gallery, and others arrived when Shakeel Kahn and his brother Nabeel Kahn were brought into the courtroom.
Johnson reminded the people in the courtroom that the jury would be brought in, the presiding juror would announce the jury has reached a verdict, and that juror would hand the verdict form to the clerk, who then would give it to him.
Johnson said he would read the verdict form with its 23 questions, call a sidebar with the attorneys to let them review it, and then read the questions to the courtroom.
He added he would not tolerate any outbursts from people in the courtroom regarding the verdict.
The jury returned to the courtroom at 10:08 a,m.
During the sidebar, during which white noise is played, the attorneys kept poker faces as they reviewed the verdict form, and kept those poker faces as Johnson read it.
Before he dismissed the jury, the judged thanked the jurors for their commitment since their selection on April 25, and especially because some of them came from Park, Weston Campbell and Niobrara counties.
"Without it [the jury system], our system of justice would quickly collapse," Johnson said.
After he dismissed the jury, he told the attorneys that this was a hard-fought case.
Johnson especially complimented Shakeel Kahn's defense attorney Beau Brindley for presenting one of the best closing arguments he had ever seen.
Brindley asked for 30 days to file post-trial motions, and Johnson granted his request.
Over the next 45 days, the governments probation office will prepare a pre-sentence report and the attorneys will be able to critique it, he said.
Johnson anticipated a sentencing hearing will happen in about 70 days.
The verdict ended a three-year investigation after the Wyoming Board of Pharmacy had questions about Shakeel Kahn's apparent prescribing high amounts and doses of painkillers that seemed to be outside the usual standard of care.
Federal and state law enforcement agencies took over in the spring of 2016.
Prosecutors filed an initial criminal complaint against defendant Paul Beland in November 2016, but quickly took that down from the federal court website.
The crimes from January 2011 through November 2016 comprised the heart of the first count of the 23-count indictment with the Kahn brothers and three other co-conspirators -- Shakeel's wife Lyn, Shawnna Thacker and Beland. Those three co-conspirators pleaded guilty to this and other charges in exchange for testifying for the prosecution and reduced sentences.
Included in the conspiracy count for the Kahns was the charge that their distribution of those drugs resulted in the death of Arizona resident Jessica Burch in 2015.
The other crime with the stiffest penalty facing Shakeel Kahn was operating a continuing criminal enterprise, conviction of which was punishable by 20 years to life imprisonment.
The indictment also named five counts of dispensing oxycodone, three counts of possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and aid and abet, six counts of unlawful use of a communication facility, three counts of dispensing oxycodone and aid and abet, and two counts of money laundering.