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Testimony of Nevada’s first lady sought

RENO — A lawyer for a Reno doctor accused of trafficking illegal human growth hormone to patients said Thursday that he’s trying to force Nevada first lady Dawn Gibbons to testify in a federal trial that he claims stems from a politically motivated prosecution.

Dr. James W. Forsythe, husband of former Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Earlene Forsythe, is a homeopathic physician in Reno who is accused of twice selling vials of Bio-Tropin to an undercover Food and Drug Administration agent in 2004.

“It’s political,” Kevin Mirch, the doctor’s lawyer, said of the reason for the prosecution. He declined to elaborate, saying details would come out in the trial expected to continue through next week in U.S. District Court in Reno.

Earlene Forsythe headed the state GOP when Gibbons launched her campaign for the congressional seat held by her husband, Republican Jim Gibbons, who was elected governor in 2006. Dean Heller ended up winning the contentious Republican primary for the House seat.

Mirch confirmed before a late afternoon hearing on a motion to quash some of his subpoenas that Dawn Gibbons is on a list of at least 35 witnesses he has subpoenaed. But he declined to comment on why she was chosen.

Dawn Gibbons’ name is among those on an exhibit federal prosecutors have introduced into evidence, which is a ledger federal agents seized from the doctor’s office with the names of his patients. Also on that ledger is the name of Jerry Bussell, the state’s chief of homeland security under former Gov. Kenny Guinn.

Bussell’s wife, Reno attorney Pat Lundvall, went before Judge Howard McKibben to move to quash a subpoena late Thursday but it wasn’t immediately clear who was the target of that subpoena other than the person was a woman.

McKibben refused to rule on the motion, saying he wouldn’t act on it until the witness in question was called to testify.

Dawn Gibbons could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

James Forsythe, 69, is accused of trafficking Bio-Tropin to patients for anti-aging uses and of dispensing the drug for unapproved treatment.

“He caused the introduction of this drug into commerce with the intent to defraud and mislead patients by not telling them it was not approved by the FDA or that is was not for sale in the United States,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Sullivan said in opening arguments Monday.

Mirch contends Bio-Tropin is approved and that the case concerns a former FBI agent who wanted to “catch a doctor.”

Mirch has asked McKibben to dismiss the case alleging falsification of records by the government.

Mirch contends the labels on two boxes of the drug seized in a raid had the name of another doctor.

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