A woman convicted of threatening federal agents is pinning her hopes of a successful appeal on whether her psychiatrist is under investigation for overprescribing medications to his patients.
During a four-day trial earlier this month, 53-year-old Lori Irish claimed her behavior was the result of psychosis triggered by a misdiagnosis of her mental state and being prescribed excessive amounts of the wrong medication.
Federal public defender Brenda Weksler said Tuesday that an investigator for her office was told that the psychiatrist is under investigation, a claim the U.S. attorney’s office denies.
“This investigation is central to the defense used at trial,” Weksler wrote in a motion to U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt.
The doctor’s identity was not specifically disclosed in court.
Hunt ordered the public defender’s investigator, the source of his information regarding the probe and an FBI agent also named in connection with the investigation to testify Dec. 2 about the status of an investigation.
Weksler said she should have been informed if the doctor was under investigation during Irish’s trial because she could have interrogated him on his methods of prescribing medicine.
Even though Weksler believed that Irish and the doctor had an unusual relationship in which she would receive drugs without examinations, that line of questioning was deemed irrelevant at trial, Weksler said.
Weksler urged Hunt to release her client until a sentencing hearing scheduled for Feb. 20.
She said Irish can be treated for her mental ailment, which one psychiatrist described as a verbal impulsive “disregulation.”
Witnesses said Irish has a history of lashing out at individuals and threatening to kill or harm them.
Dr. Norton Roitman, an expert witness who testified during trial, said Tuesday that Irish could be treated for her symptoms. He described her as a narcissist who believes she is always right.
Hunt rejected Weksler’s request to release Irish from jail.
Employees of Irish’s business, Advanced Architectural Metals, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board in 2006 after Irish ignored elements of a collective bargaining agreement. According to the complaint, workers said their hours, insurance and other benefits were changed without the required union approval.
The complaint says Irish became belligerent with employees she believed instigated the union action. She left profanity-filled messages on their cell phones and fired 17 workers.
When her employees took to the picket lines, she threatened to run them over, the complaint says.
At one point, she aimed her truck at a union worker protesting on the sidewalk outside her business and punched the accelerator. A post stopped her vehicle inches away from the protester, according to the complaint.
She also threatened the child of one of her employees, the complaint says.
“I’m going to blow your (expletive) kid’s head off,” she said, according to the complaint.
Irish was arrested and charged with threatening a federal official after she told labor relations board investigators she would kill them. She was convicted on Nov. 6.
Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at email@example.com or 702-384-8710.