UPDATE ** UPDATE ** A federal judge as set a new criminal trial date of April 26 for the ex-associate general counsel of GlaxoSmithKline – assuming the prosecution wins a new indictment in time. A federal grand jury had charged Lauren Stevens, the Glaxo lawyer, with making false statements and obstructing an FDA investigation into whether her company off-label marketed its depression drug, Wellbutrin SR. But U.S. District Court Judge Roger Titus dismissed the charges on March 23 after finding that the prosecutors had given inaccurate and incomplete information to the grand jury about Stevens’ key defense strategy, that she depended on the advice of counsel. At the latest hearing March 25 in Greenbelt, Maryland, federal prosecutors said they hadn’t yet decided whether to seek a new indictment. Their other choices include appealing the dismissal, or dropping the case. “The government can’t make a commitment as to which way it will go,” Titus said at the hearing, according to a Bloomberg report
. At least one legal expert says they should drop it. Professor Ellen Podgor, of Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida, wrote Friday on her White Collar Crime
blog that refiling the charges would be a waste of taxpayer resources. Podgor compared the case to the idea of “prosecuting assistant United States attorneys who do not comply with constitutional requirements of discovery.” Defense lawyers have previously said in court that Stevens based her responses to the FDA inquiry on advice she received from her legal team, which included two other in-house attorneys and three outside counsel from King & Spalding. No one else was charged in the case. And assistant U.S. attorney Sara Bloom has said that Stevens didn’t share all the facts with the other lawyers. Both sides have declined comment on the case. EARLIER ARTICLE: Federal prosecutors in the criminal case against Lauren Stevens, the indicted former in-house counsel of GlaxoSmithKline, received a double dose of bad news Wednesday. First the judge ruled against the government in saying that Stevens can claim an advice-of-counsel defense to the charges against her.
Then the judge dismissed the case.