Alexander DeLuca, M.D.
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Hurwitz Prosecutor Caught Up in US Attorneys Controversy

David Borden; The Speakeasy - Chronicle Blog; 2007-03-20. Posted: 2007-04-21.

Related resources:
The Dr. William Hurwitz Collection  ;  Drug War Journalism and Advocacy archives
See also:
Pain Doctor William Hurwitz Wins Appeal, Gets New Trial - Drug War Chronicle #450; 2006-08-25
 Prosecutor Mess Shows Sick Priorities of Bush Justice Department - Maia Szalavitz; The Huffington Post; 2007-03-14
THE PATHOLOGICAL DEA - The War on Doctors and the Pain Crisis in the Aftermath of the DEA FAQ Debacle - compiled by DeLuca, 2006
US v Hurwitz Appeal Decision (PDF) - Widener, Traxler, and Currie; 4th Circuit Court of Appeals; 2006 -08-22
War on Doctors/Pain Crisis blog and RSS feed

     Deputy AG Paul McNulty
Deputy AG Paul McNultyWe have not previously commented here about the US Attorneys firing controversy (or scandal, depending on how one looks at it) -- mostly because drug policy has not come up in it -- partly because we assume that both the people who got canned and the people replacing them are all all likely to be serious SOBs from our point of view. For example, it was one of the firees, San Diego's Carol Lam, who prosecuted medical marijuana provider Steve McWilliams, an act that ended in McWilliams' suicide.

Readers who have followed the pain issue will doubtless be interested to know that the guy who prosecuted pain physician Dr. Hurwitz, Paul McNulty, and who was responsible for the infamous withdrawal by the DEA during that prosecution of the pain FAQ it had worked together on with doctors and other experts, is in serious hot water. McNulty was the US Attorney for eastern Virginia at the time, but was subsequently promoted to the #2 spot at DOJ. According to his official bio he played a key role in abolishing parole in Virginia in 1994. [See also: THE PATHOLOGICAL DEA - Aftermath of the DEA FAQ Debacle]

McNulty's name has come up on and off within the firings matter since early on, but until this evening it seemed like he might survive it and quite possibly become the next Attorney General. But things have shifted again in this fast-changing story. According to the Politico, in a story filed at 9:06 EST:

Republican sources also disclosed that it is now a virtual certainty that Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty, whose incomplete and inaccurate congressional testimony about the prosecutors helped precipitate the crisis, will also resign shortly. Officials were debating whether Gonzales and McNulty should depart at the same time or whether McNulty should go a day or two after Gonzales.

Let's hope the reporting about McNulty at least is on target. Whatever the cause for his career's abrupt ending, it will be a good thing. McNulty's actions in the Hurwitz case caused incalculable damage to the cause of pain management with opioids for patients who need it - effectively he caused large numbers of pain patients to be tortured through denial of medication or under-use of it. Having met Dr. Hurwitz a number of times, and counting a number of his former patients friends, I could be biased about that - though his conviction has since been overturned due to the trial flaws that prosecutors and the judge created. But I think McNulty's instigation of the withdrawal of the FAQ demonstrates objectively that he is willing to attack the rule of law itself if it suits his purposes.

No tears shed for this guy's career, none deserved - good riddance to at least one really, really cruel, unethical and dishonest prosecutor.



Dr. DeLuca's Addiction, Pain, and Public Health Website

Alexander DeLuca, M.D.

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Originally posted: 2007-04-21

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