Attorneys in the federal drug conspiracy case against a Casper doctor will make opening statements Monday morning for a trial set to last weeks.
Dr. Shakeel Kahn and his brother, Nabeel, face a total of 23 felonies in the case, to which the two men have pleaded not guilty.
The doctor faces the vast majority of the charges: 21, including a single count of conspiracy to distribute drugs resulting in death and a single count of operating a continuing criminal enterprise. A conviction on either of those crimes is punishable by between 20 years and life in prison.
His brother faces a count of conspiracy to distribute drugs resulting in death and a count of using firearms in relation to drug trafficking.
A jury, seated Thursday night, was not present in the courtroom Friday. During the morning’s approximately 30-minute proceeding, attorneys argued the extent to which prosecutors could admit statements by Lyn Kahn, the doctor’s wife, who pleaded guilty to a single felony Wednesday.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie Sprecher and Stephanie Hambrick have not made public what they expect Lyn Kahn’s testimony to allege. The doctor’s defense attorney, Beau Brindley, who has reviewed a summary of Lynn Kahn’s anticipated testimony, indicated Friday he would oppose statements regarding prosecutors’ allegations that Shakeel Kahn illegally distributed drugs in Arizona before he moved to Casper.
Judge Alan Johnson said he would review attorneys’ legal arguments before Lyn Kahn testifies during the trial’s second week.
Attorneys will return to Casper’s federal courthouse by 9:30 Monday morning to make their hour-long opening statements, during which they will outline the evidence they expect to be presented.
Federal law enforcement arrested Shakeel Kahn on Nov. 30, 2016, in his Thorndike Avenue home and days later charged him with illegally distributing prescription painkillers. Prosecutors have since said the alleged criminal conspiracy resulted in the overdose death of an Arizona woman.
Prosecutors have indicated that, in addition to the doctor’s wife, they also intend to call at least two of Kahn’s former co-defendants — Paul Beland, of Massachusetts, and Shawnna Thacker, of Arizona — to testify. Beland and Thacker both pleaded guilty as part of deals with the prosecution.
Natrona County prosecutors have convicted a number of people in state court for drug offenses they have alleged are related to the federal case.