Arguments to begin in Utah doctor's federal trial

Jul 20 2011 - 7:55am

SALT LAKE CITY  -- A jury on Wednesday is scheduled to hear opening statements in the federal trial of a Utah surgeon charged with illegally prescribing painkillers to hundreds of patients.

Dewey C. MacKay of Brigham City has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His defense attorney, Peter Striba, says he'll vigorously fight the allegations.

MacKay was originally charged with 130 felonies.

The first two counts allege MacKay's distribution of the drugs resulted in a patient's death in 2006. If convicted on those charges, the 64-year-old could spend 35 years in prison and pay $2.5 million in fines.

The other charges carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison and $1 million in fines.

Prosecutors dropped 45 of counts on Monday.

The trial is expected to last at least three weeks.

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