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Trial Of Former Queens Doctor Begins After Overdose Deaths

Stan Li (credit: Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York)

Stan Li (credit: Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A former Queens doctor is on trial on manslaughter charges after authorities said he sold painkiller prescriptions to two patients who died of overdoses.

Opening statements began Wednesday in Stan Li’s case. A narcotics prosecutor portrayed him as a drug dealer with a medical degree.

Prosecutors say Li kept writing narcotics prescriptions to one patient who overdosed five times in a year and another whose father implored him to stop.

Li’s lawyer says the New Jersey-based doctor acted properly. The defense says he didn’t know some patients were misusing drugs he prescribed.

Authorities around the country have used civil and sometimes criminal laws to pursue doctors suspected of peddling prescriptions. But manslaughter charges are rare.

When state officials stripped Li of his medical license in January 2012, they said the doctor also overlooked such warning signs as requests for early refills and state reports that patients were doctor-shopping for multiple prescriptions.

Authorities have also said that Li provided 24 prescriptions filled by David Laffer, who later pleaded guilty to killing four people in the 2011 robbery of a pharmacy in Medford, Long Island.

Laffer is serving a life sentence for murder. His wife, Melinda Brady, admitted to driving the getaway car and is serving 25 years.

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