Monday, May 30, 2016

Pill Doctor Prescribes Percocet and Wine for Headaches

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By Shealyn Kilroy For Dr. William O’Brien 3d’s Headache Curing Cocktail Recipe:

-- Glass(es) of wine
-- Half a capsule of Percocet
--One part muscle-relaxer Flexeril
The jury heard this alcoholic pill potpourri ordered on a video played in court on Friday for undercover informant Marian Murphy. Murphy, acting as a first time patient for the federal government, came to visit Dr. O’Brien for her “headaches.”
“With this, you won’t come back for a few months,” O’Brien
said as he walked out of the office.

Before the jury watched the video recording, they sat all morning long through O’Brien’s convoluted cross-examination of Lisa Aninsman, a former office employee. After five years of working for O’Brien at his Bristol office, Aninsman quit after O’Brien’s practices made her feel uncomfortable, she said.

She didn’t have a problem with who O’Brien was treating, she testified, but she did have a problem with the amount of narcotics O’Brien was prescribing. Aninsman was at the doctor's office in September 2011 when it was invaded by more than 20 FBI agents.

O’Brien’s questions didn’t make enough sense to keep the jury’s attention.
Judge Nitza Quinones confiscated two jurors’ cellphones [they were returned at the end of the day] and heads were seen drooping. O’Brien’s irrelevant questions never went far. Continuous objections from the government were the norm.
“Why is [Prosecutor Beth Leahy] objecting to my questions?” O’Brien asked his legal advisor George Neumann.
O’Brien asked Aninsman if she knew Tiger Woods, if she was Italian, or if she ever referred to him as the fat doctor. 

“Probably when I quit,”  Aninsman responded.
The judge butted in to answer O’Brien when he asked Aninsman if she ever heard the phrase, "You can indict a ham sandwich."

“I never even heard of it,” Judge Quinones replied to O’Brien’s question directed at Aninsman.
Before the court broke for lunch, O’Brien told the judge he’d need another two to three hours to cross examine Aninsman. But as trial resumed after, O’Brien finished in under an hour.
It wouldn’t be Memorial Day weekend without a trip to the Jersey Shore. Up to testify after Aninsman, FBI special agent Stephen Rich was one of the agents who executed a search warrant in January 2015 on O’Brien's alleged shore house in Long Beach Island. The government showed dozens of pictures taken during the search to the jury in efforts to show O’Brien’s monetary worth.
The three-story bay front home had a Mercedes Benz in one of the two car garages, three boxes of Don Perignon on the kitchen counter, and .38 caliber bullets found in the closet. Throughout the house. artwork by Pino of topless women hung on the walls. One Pino piece above the closet was an actual painting with a certificate of authenticity, Rich testified.
O’Brien frequently starts most of his questions with, “Would it surprise you if . . ." before telling the witness something personal about himself.

It didn’t surprise anyone when Rich started losing his patience with O’Brien. 

“I’m not surprised or surprised,” Rich sternly fired back.
Carrie and Big or Hibbs and O'Brien?
The alleged drug money stashed in designer handbags, the shore house itself, and the rest of the luxuries in it all belonged to O’Brien's ex-wife/girlfriend Elizabeth Hibbs, hinted O’Brien. The doctor asked that a picture of blue Manolo Blahnik heels found in the closet be brought up again as an exhibit during O'Brien's cross examination of the FBI agent.

“Have you ever seen the movie Sex and the City?” O’Brien asked.

“Objection!” the government said.

“Overruled,” the judge stated.

“No, I have never seen the movie,” Rich answered.

"You know those shoes that Carrie and Big get married in…” O'Brien started.

“Objection! Your honor he said he’s never seen it,” the prosecutor said. 

After Rich's testimony, Special Agent Chad Speicher took the stand. Speicher had executed a search warrant on a safety deposit box at a TD Bank on Market St. Pictures of the contents showed a Louis Vuitton cloth bag full of cash, a gold Rolex, 15-25 boxes of jewelry, and a total of $58,700 in cash. Up next was FBI Special Agent David Carter who executed a search warrant on a different security deposit box at a TD Bank in Newtown. 

The agent found $57,950 was in the box. Both boxes were both under Elizabeth Hibbs' name. 
Marian Murphy was the last government witness to testify for the day. Murphy, a diner waitress, was charged with over a 100 counts in 1998 for defrauding her customers. She cried on the stand as she recalled her crimes.
“I stole a lot of hard working people’s money,” Murphy said, tearing up.
Murphy had been on probation in 2010 for shoplifting. She said she wanted to change her ways, so she started counseling and was “proud to say she’s not had an incident since.” Murphy agreed to work with the government in their efforts to infiltrate Dr. O'Brien's practice. 

Her compensation: $5,600 in cash, although the government instructed her to pay taxes on that amount.
The FBI sent Murphy into Dr. O’Brien’s office to seek medication. Murphy told O’Brien that she was referred to him by a co-worker who was a “drug-addict,” according to Murphy.

Murphy appeared to be a sympathetic witness. A woman in her fifties, after expressing her distress about her former life, she spoke with ease about her mission on behalf of the FBI. Then, she lost it.
“If there’s a hundred people living on a street, there’s a heroin addict and that’s because of people like Dr. O’Brien,” Murphy said. O'Brien strenuously objected. So did his mother, with huffs and puffs from the spectator's seats.

Murphy testified that when she first walked into Dr. O’Brien’s office to get an appointment she was told that she may have to wait because there was pages of patients on the list to see Dr. O’Brien. But, Dr. O’Brien came out of his office, looked at her, and told the office employees he could take Murphy that day, Murphy told the jury. Contributing to earning a skip the line pass, Murphy paid the doctor her cash $200 co-pay.
Video and audio from a recording device placed in Murphy's handbag began to play for the jury. 
O'Brien walked Murphy back to the room. 
O'Brien: So what do you need, what do you want, what's going on...
Murphy: I have headaches...they're fierce when they come on....
O'Brien: Is it work related? Sinus? Stress..?
Murphy told O'Brien she'd been drinking a glass of wine with an over-the-counter medication for her headaches. The conversation then shifted to talk about buttery chardonnay and Kendall Jackson. Then, exes came into the discussion. 

O'Brien said he was writing his ex-wife checks for $750,000 a month, but she reported his hyperbaric chamber to the feds. 
O'Brien: She's out of her mind. O'Brien continued to go on a tangent about his exes. He told Murphy during the visit that he married his mistress, divorced her and now he's dating her.  

Back to the headaches, O'Brien had a seemingly strict policy that he doesn't give out narcotics on a first visit. But Murphy left with a prescription for Percocet and Flexeril . . . and the doctor's orders to take them with wine. In the courtroom, some jurors watched the tape with disbelief. Meanwhile, O'Brien sat and bobbed his head back and forth to "I'll Be Around" by The Spinners, the song that was playing in his office on the undercover tape. Trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday.
Shealyn can be reached at

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