A federal judge directed jurors to restart their deliberations Thursday in the case of a Casper doctor accused of running a prescription drug ring after one member was dismissed for unspecified reasons.
Judge Alan Johnson turned the case — in which Dr. Shakeel Kahn faces 21 felonies — over to jurors late Wednesday morning. The jury of five men and seven women submitted three notes to the judge before he dismissed a single juror, according to court documents available electronically. The documents do not specify the reason for the juror’s dismissal.
Johnson appointed one of three available alternates to replace the juror and ordered the newly composed jury to begin anew its deliberations, according to a court document filed at 5:11 p.m. Thursday.
In the jury’s first note, submitted by 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, it asked for clarification regarding eight counts alleging the doctor unlawfully dispensed or distributed oxycodone, a potent opioid painkiller. Johnson replied only to direct jurors to materials already presented and use them to complete a verdict form.
In a second note, also submitted Wednesday, jurors inquired about count 15 — in which prosecutors had charged Lyn Kahn and Paul Beland with unlawful use of a communication facility. Because they both took plea deals instead of proceeding to trial, the jurors’ verdict form skipped over that count.
The judge directed jurors not to speculate about the charge.
Sometime Wednesday, jurors submitted a third note, which is not publicly available in electronic filings. Later the same day, Johnson replaced a juror.
When jurors deliver a verdict, it will mark the end of a nearly month-long trial held in a federal courtroom in downtown Casper. Prosecutors have alleged Kahn operated a multi-state drug conspiracy that led to the 2015 overdose death of an Arizona woman. They presented more than 10,000 exhibits and called dozens of witnesses.
Three former co-defendants pleaded guilty in federal court earlier this year and testified for the government during the proceedings against the two men.
The doctor’s brother, Nabeel, faces two felonies in the case. He chose not to testify during the trial.
Shakeel Kahn testified in his own defense over the course of two days, telling jurors he followed the law while attempting to help his patients treat chronic pain. He insisted his treatment methods were medically appropriate, and his attorney insisted his client had been set up by co-defendants who wanted to improve their standing with federal prosecutors.