Eastman doctor's lawyers want to ban phrase 'pill mill' from his trial

Request to ban 'pill mill' phrase from trial

Lawyers representing Eastman doctor George "Mack" Bird III are asking the judge to grant several motions, including preventing witnesses from using the phrase "pill mill."

A federal grand jury in Savannah indicted Bird in March, alleging he ordered his employees to dispense various drugs, including highly addictive opioids, using prescription forms he pre-signed.

The indictment also accuses Bird of laundering the proceeds from that operation by using them as operating expenses at Bird's clinics.

Motions filed in May by Bird's legal team ask the judge for a list of concessions, including dismissing the case entirely.

Bird's attorneys ask that statements made by Bird to drug investigators be excluded, claiming that  the agents did not read Bird his Miranda rights and used "psychological plays, threats, promises and fatigue" to coerce information from Bird.

Bird's attorneys also ask that evidence taken from Bird's Eastman office and a storage unit be excluded.

They say investigators did not have probable cause for the search, although a Dodge County magistrate judge granted the search warrant.

Bird's attorneys also filed two unusual motions. One asks that witnesses not be allowed to use the phrase "pill mill" in reference to Bird's clinics. Attorneys claim the phrase has no legal definition and may mislead the jury.

The other asks that testimony about Dr. Bird's financial records and properties be excluded because it may prejudice jurors against him because of  "wealth/class bias."

This month, Judge Brian K. Epps granted an extension to the federal prosecutors, who seek to prove Bird was running a "pill mill" from his offices.

According to Jim Durham with the U.S. Attorneys Office in Savannah, the hearing on the motions filed in the case will be heard in early July.

Once the motion hearing is complete, the next step would be for Bird to enter a plea.

Bird's attorneys claim in the motions filings he will enter a plea of not guilty.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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