By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Federal defendant Lee Garner of Batesville wants charges against him dismissed because the statute of limitations has run.
His attorney, Christi R. McCoy of Oxford, last week asked the U.S. District Court to throw out the four counts against him in a 14-count indictment alleging multiple conspiracies, briberies, health care fraud and false statements.
In a separate motion, McCoy also asks the court to try him separately from co-defendants Raymond L. Shoemaker, a Tupelo health care executive, and Batesville physician Robert Corkern.
“The prejudice that would befall Mr. Garner through a joint trial outweighs any interest in judicial economy and efficiency,” McCoy wrote to the court.
The trio’s trial is set to begin Feb. 21 in Oxford. It’s expected to last three weeks.
Shoemaker, Garner and Corkern are accused of crimes related to their connections with each other and through Tri-Lakes Medical Center in Batesville, which Corkern bought and where Shoemaker was chief executive officer. Garner operated a nurse staffing business and contracted with the hospital.
In her motion to dismiss, McCoy says that the bribery/kickback charges alleged against Garner, “even if proven,” are barred because the five-year statute of limitations ran out.
Garner is accused of acts in 2005, while the indictment occurred in 2011.
The government, however, accuses Garner of the crimes from March 2005 through July 2007.
In a separate issue, the government urges Senior Judge Neal B. Biggers to reject defense witness C. Mark Bullock, a Ridgeland CPA, as an expert, saying his expected testimony amounts “to his inadmissible legal opinion that Garner is innocent.”
Garner’s filing to designate Bullock as an expert notes that it’s his opinion that the allegations against Garner “are untrue.”