Lawyer for Ozarks Rep. Tricia Derges files motion to dismiss federal charges
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Lawyers for a Christian County state representative and Dr. Patricia Derges filed a motion to dismiss federal charges, citing appearance of impropriety involving a witness in the U.S. Attorneys Office.
Dr. Derges, of Nixa, faces a 23-count superseding indictment, which was returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Springfield on March 23. The US Attorney’s office says Derges lied about stem cell treatments at her healthcare clinic and illegally provided prescription drugs.
Attorney Albert Watkins says his defense team uncovered U.S. Attorney Shannon Kempf, a witness in the case, directed a Missouri Medicaid Fraud Unit investigator when the investigator targeted Dr. Derges. Watkins says his team uncovered it after interviewing the lead investigator of the Medicaid Fraud Unit to prepare for the case.
“This is not American,” said Watkins. “What next? Just because a prosecutor would like to don the black robe and serve as judge does not mean it is right. I am proud of our country’s Department of Justice. It is the envy of the world. But what is going on in this case is nothing short of a circus. All that is missing is the big tent and clowns wearing neon Nikes doing backflips,” added Watkins.
The trial was originally expected to begin Aug. 16, 2021, but has now been postponed to June 6, 2022, per court records.
The federal indictment charges Derges with:
- Three counts of COVID-19 fraud
- Eight counts of wire fraud related to five specific victims
- Ten counts of distributing Oxycodone and Adderall over the internet without valid prescriptions
- Two counts of making false statements to federal agents investigating the case in May 2020
In June, Watkins said they are not accepting any plea deals and claimed she is innocent. Fellow lawmakers have asked Derges to resign, but in an email to the Missouri house speaker earlier this year, she said her “innocence will prevail.”
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