Dipak Desai is once more faking the extent of his strokes, and there is no need to delay his criminal trial to examine questions about his competency, prosecutors told the Nevada Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The defense effort to bring the trial to a halt is part of Desai’s “malingering behavior and constitutes yet another attempt to delay his day in court,” prosecutors said in papers filed with the high court.
They said it is “unwarranted” and “unnecessary” to halt the “long-delayed trial,” which stems from a 2007 hepatitis outbreak.
Prosecutors were responding to a defense motion questioning Desai’s ability to assist his lawyers during the trial.
Desai’s lead attorney, Richard Wright, filed the motion with the Supreme Court on Monday, as District Judge Valerie Adair began selecting a jury in the high-profile case.
After two days of questioning prospective jurors, Adair suspended jury selection until Friday so the prosecutors and defense lawyers could file additional papers with the Supreme Court.
Wright has until noon Friday to answer the prosecutors.
Lawyers are predicting they might be able to pick a jury by next week if the Supreme Court doesn’t stay the trial.
Wright wants the court to grant him a hearing to question Los Angeles neurologist David Palestrant, who reviewed hospital reports of small strokes Desai suffered in February.
Adair relied on Palestrant’s report in ruling last week that the strokes did not further harm Desai’s ability to help his lawyers and that there was no need to reopen the issue of his competency.
Adair refused to allow Palestrant to be questioned.
Desai, 63, who surrendered his Nevada medical license after the outbreak was disclosed in 2008, and nurse anesthetist Ronald Lakeman, 65, face a series of charges, including second-degree murder, theft, insurance fraud and criminal neglect of patients.
Another nurse originally charged in the high-profile case, Keith Mathahs, 76, pleaded guilty late last year and agreed to testify against Desai and Lakeman.
The charges focus on the hepatitis C infections of seven former Desai patients.
Health officials concluded six contracted the deadly virus through unsafe injection practices on Sept. 21, 2007.
Another was infected on July 25, 2007.
One patient, Rodolfo Meana, died of hepatitis C complications last year.
Contact Jeff German at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-8135. Follow @JGermanRJ on Twitter.