and Ian Morris
The man who ran the University’s ill-fated ALG drug program will appear in federal court today to be sentenced.
Richard Condie pleaded guilty in August to charges of tax evasion, embezzlement and conspiring to sell the antirejection drug ALG unlawfully.
Condie, an immunologist, was hired to refine the drug and oversee its manufacture at the University. Condie’s boss, Dr. John Najarian, was indicted on similar charges in 1995. But unlike Condie, Najarian pleaded innocent on all counts and stood trial. After a five-week trial, a federal jury acquitted Najarian on all counts.
U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle, who presided over Najarian’s trial, will sentence Condie.
At Najarian’s trial, Condie was expected to be the prosecution’s key witness to the conspiracy charge the two shared. The indictment claimed that together the two covered up patient deaths in the ALG study and lied to Food and Drug Administration officials about the drug being sold.
But on the stand, Condie took much of the responsibility for the program’s failings. He did not attest to being specifically instructed by Najarian to leave patient deaths unreported or lie to federal agents about the sale of the drug.
Although the prosecution did not win a conviction against Najarian, it is nonetheless asking for leniency in Condie’s sentencing.
In the motion for leniency, Assistant U.S. Attorney Hank Shea called Condie’s assistance to the government “substantial and useful.” Shea referred to the “countless hours” Condie spent reviewing and explaining documents with which the federal government built its case against Najarian.
Vincent Louwagie, Condie’s attorney, estimates that the immunologist spent about 900 hours reviewing documents for the government. In a statement filed in court on the upcoming sentencing, Louwagie cited several reasons the judge should deal leniently with him.
He noted Condie’s age, 69, and the “financial and emotional support” he provides to his family.
Condie has also, the papers state, made financial restitution to the University for the sale of an ALG byproduct, from which the embezzlement charge stems.
In addition, Louwagie referred to the fact that Condie “believed that the provision of ALG was for the greater good of many transplant patients.”
Judge Kyle, after Najarian’s acquittal, publicly said he admired the ALG program, which he said “for all of its problems and shortcomings … literally saved thousands of lives.”
Louwagie said he believes Condie faces a sentence within the range of 12 to 18 months.