The Government Says That If At First It Does Not Succeed, Try, Try Again: Former GlaxoSmithKline Attorney Lauren Stevens Re-IndictedApril 15, 2011
By Peter M. Jaensch -
In the latest installment in the criminal prosecution of Lauren Stevens, an attorney formerly employed by GlaxoSmithKline ("GSK"), the U.S. Department of Justice announced on April 14, 2011, that a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland has reindicted Ms. Stevens on six counts alleging that she obstructed an official proceeding, concealed and falsified documents to influence a federal agency, and made false statements to the FDA.
As we previously reported, Ms. Stevens was originally indicted on November 8, 2010 on what the Justice Department states were essentially the same charges. The earlier charges arose in connection with an FDA investigation of alleged off-label promotion of drugs by GSK. The government alleged that, among other things, Ms. Stevens falsely denied that GSK engaged in any activity promoting off-label use, that she falsely denied that attendees at company promotional speaker events had been provided gifts and entertainment, and that evidence of these gifts as well as other documentary evidence were not included in the documents provided by the company to FDA.
However, that indictment was dismissed without prejudice by District Judge Roger W. Titus on March 23, 2011, citing concerns that the prosecutors had incorrectly explained the advice of counsel defense to grand jurors such that the instruction raised “grave doubts about the grand jury’s decision to indict.” The absence of actual misconduct by the prosecutors was cited by the Judge in his determination that dismissal with prejudice was unwarranted.
The Government was not to be dissuaded from continuing to pursue this case. Judge Titus has tentatively scheduled a new trial date for April 26, 2011.