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August 2, 2014

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Desai lawyer says state hasn’t proved hepatitis C case

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Dr. Dipak Desai and his attorney Richard Wright appear in district court Friday, June 11, 2010 for Desai’s arraignment on 28 felony charges related to the 2007-2008 hepatitis outbreak linked to his Las Vegas Valley endoscopy clinics.

A defense attorney is telling jurors that prosecutors haven't proved that a former Las Vegas endoscopy clinic owner and an employee facing charges in a mass hepatitis outbreak knew that injection practices they were using were unsafe in 2007.

Attorney Richard Wright also said Thursday that even if prosecutors proved former Dr. Dipak Desai (DEE'-pahk deh-SEYE') and nurse anesthetist Ronald Lakeman were sloppy, lazy and arrogant, it didn't prove they knew they might infect patients with hepatitis C.

Wright was recalling the words that prosecutor Pamela Weckerly used when she asked jurors to find Desai and Lakeman guilty of murder, patient neglect, insurance fraud and other charges.

Closing arguments are continuing in the trial stemming from seven people contracting hepatitis C at a Desai clinic in an outbreak described as one of the largest ever in the U.S.