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AG asks for grand jury to investigate steroid illnesses, deaths

Army Medicine

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has called for a four county grand jury investigation into contaminated steroids linked to hundreds of cases of illness and 14 deaths in the state. Schuette filed the request today  with the Michigan Court of Appeals.

“Now, this grand jury can be empowered to fully investigate this human tragedy, these 14 deaths and painful illnesses, with the greatest power extended under Michigan law," Schuette said.

The grand jury would meet in secret. It would have the power to compel people to appear and testify. And it could ask a Massachusetts court to order employees of the pharmacy that made the drug to cooperate.

The judge to lead the investigation and the grand jurors would be drawn from Macomb, Genesee, Livingston, and Grand Traverse counties. Those counties are where the clinics that administered the contaminated steroid injections are located.

The petition says there is probable cause to believe crimes were committed. The crimes potentially include adulteration of drugs that caused death, adulteration of drugs that cause injury, and conspiring to commit a crime. These are 15-year and five-year felonies.

The grand jury investigation would include the Michigan clinics that administered the steroid injections, and the Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center that made the steroid.

The grand jury has six months to conclude its investigation, but can ask for an extension. The grand jury has the authority to compel people to appear and testify.  The grand jury can ask a Massachusetts court to order officials from the New England Compounding Center to appear.

Vincent Duffy has been news director at Michigan Public since May 2007.
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