Federal Judge Denies Casper Doctor’s Release On Bond; Trial Likely Will Be Delayed
The trial of a Casper doctor on multiple drug conspiracy charges probably will happen long after a scheduled October date, a federal judge wrote today.
The probable delay is the result of a somewhat unusual motion -- an interlocutory appeal -- filed by Dr. Shakeel Kahn to the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that automatically stops all the proceedings against him in federal court in Wyoming.
U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson approved the interlocutory appeal during a hearing in federal court in Cheyenne on Wednesday.
However, Johnson turned down a motion by Kahn asking the court to release him on bond, so he probably will remain in jail until the trial that is still scheduled for Oct. 2. However, the judge indicated it may happen after that because of the interlocutory appeal.
Kahn and his wife were arrested at their Casper home on Nov. 30.
Kahn is filing the appeal because Johnson declined to hold a hearing last month about whether some money seized by the government should be released during its investigation of him.
The investigation resulted in a 21-count indictment against Kahn, his wife, Lyn, and former Wyoming resident Paul Beland. They are charged with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and alprazolam; dispensing of oxycodone; possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and aid and abet; unlawful use of a communication facility; dispensing of oxycodone and aid and abet; and engaging in monetary transactions derived from criminal activity. If convicted on all counts, they face up to scores of years of imprisonment.
The indictment also charges Kahn with one count of running a multi-state continuing criminal enterprise. If convicted on that count alone, he faces a minimum 20-year sentence.
During the investigation, authorities seized $3 million in a cash judgment representing what they made from the drug transactions, $1,048,000 in cash, vehicles and firearms.
Kahn filed motions asking the court for a hearing and releasing $1.1 million he claims he legally acquired to pay for attorneys and living expenses.
Last week, Johnson denied the requests for a hearing and the release of the assets.
But Wednesday, the judge granted Kahn's request to appeal that denial to the 10th Circuit Court. The proceedings in Wyoming federal court will resume after the 10th Circuit judges rule on Kahn's appeal.
On the other hand, Johnson denied Kahn's request to be released from custody.
Kahn argued he will have been in custody for nine months by the time of the scheduled Oct. 2 trial, a length of time he said was punitive; he has no history of criminal activity or substance abuse; he has specific religious and diet needs that are not being satisfied while he detained; and he is not a flight risk.
Johnson responded that Kahn's detention is not punitive.
The judge wrote Kahn will serve a 20-year sentence if convicted on the criminal enterprise charge alone, the interlocutory appeal that probably will delay the trial and his time in custody and that is his responsibility, he can still write prescriptions, and he violated the conditions of his previous release on bond that landed him in custody in January.
When U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl revoked the bond in January, he found there was probable cause to believe Kahn committed the crime of witness tampering by talking to his customers about the case.
Johnson wrote Kahn did it again: "Kahn has recently discussed the case with his wife and co-defendant Lyn Kahn, whiich demonstrates his continued disregard for bond conditions and demonstrates that there are no conditions that would ensure the integrity of the court process that would be kept if Kahn is released on bond."