SALT LAKE CITY -- The defense has filed 347 pages of letters in support of Brigham City doctor Dewey MacKay as his sentencing approaches on charges of dealing prescription painkillers.
The filings in federal court in Salt Lake City came Monday, less than a week after MacKay's formal sentencing was scheduled for Dec. 15 by Judge Dee Benson.
MacKay, 64, was convicted Aug. 18 on 40 of 86 counts of illegally prescribing painkillers from his Brigham City office.
MacKay's sentencing had remained unscheduled since an Oct. 28 date was canceled because of pending motions. Benson is considering defense bids to throw out or reduce the jury verdict.
The letters' pages take up nine exhibits, and the letter at the top of the stack, the first letter in the first exhibit, is from Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah.
Bishop writes that he has known MacKay and his family for 25 years and taught all of the doctor's children in his years at Box Elder High School. He called each MacKay offspring a joy to have in class.
He said MacKay medically treated his son, as well as his father-in-law.
"I would not hesitate to use him for any medical needs I or my family might have," Bishop wrote.
He praised the doctor's work in civic and church assignments they shared and asked the judge to consider those years of service in rendering sentence.
"I am proud of my association with the MacKay family, especially Dr. MacKay," Bishop's letter reads. "I have every confidence in his service and support, and continue that confidence today."
Bishop was prominently included on MacKay's witness list and was scheduled to testify on MacKay's behalf on the last day of trial. However, he was not called for reasons MacKay's defense lawyers never detailed publicly and which Bishop staffers said was the decision of the defense lawyers, not the congressman.
Utah state Sen. Pete Knudson, R-Brigham City, in the Republican leadership as majority assistant whip, also wrote to the judge.
Knudson has been a friend to MacKay since MacKay moved to Brigham in 1981.
"My purpose in writing is not to challenge the outcome of the trial but to ask for your leniency as you impose sentence on Dr. MacKay. I believe that our community will continue to benefit from the talents and goodwill of Dr. MacKay and his family. I sincerely appeal to you on Dr. MacKay's behalf."
One of the longest letters is a 17-page plea from MacKay's wife, Kathleen, in which she describes the pain and loss of reputation her husband and family have endured, as well as a half-dozen "raids" of their home and office by armed federal agents wielding automatic weapons.
"On June 5, 2008, we were stunned when more than twenty fully armored government agents raided our home for the first time pointing their assault rifles at us. ... We tried to protest as they stuck an assault rifle in my husband's stomach, hand-cuffed him and then forced both of us at gunpoint to sit in our living room," she wrote.
"We wanted to know what they were looking for and what we were being accused of, but they venomously told us to be silent because we had been identified as drug dealers and terrorists and as such we had no civil or constitutional rights."
Defending the doctor from the charges has cost more than a million dollars, emptying retirement and savings accounts, she wrote, calling those losses nothing compared with "the pain and suffering we have experienced due to the repeated assassinations of my husband's name and reputation by the government."
"The government's atrocities have destroyed his honorable medical career of more than thirty-five years," she wrote.
Some letters are from MacKay's neighbors and family, as well as medical professionals who talk of working with and being impressed by MacKay for years.
Other letters were sent from around the country and even from outside the United States.
"I hope that after you read this you will agree with my belief that prison is not necessary, not only because of the contributions he has made to the community, and its citizens, which I believe should be considered, but also because of the incredible losses and consequences he has already paid," Cory Wilkes, a business owner from Willard, wrote of the doctor.
Pending motions in the case awaiting Benson's decision include one asking that all charges be dismissed, claiming prosecutors intentionally misled jurors on facts of the case.
The defense also seeks to have the jury's verdict on two of the most serious charges tied to an overdose death set aside as based on insufficient evidence.
They were argued in September.