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Desai’s Competency Contemplated

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Nevada judge is due to consider the fitness of a once prominent Las Vegas physician to stand trial on criminal charges in a 2008 hepatitis outbreak.

Clark County District Court Judge Kathleen Delaney is scheduled to hear arguments Friday whether 62-year-old Dipak Desai is mentally competent for trial with two former employees on felony racketeering, fraud and patient neglect charges.

The three men have pleaded not guilty. They could face decades in prison.

Each is accused of infecting patients at Desai clinics with incurable hepatitis C by reusing endoscopy scopes and vials of an injected anesthetic during outpatient procedures.

Defense lawyer Richard Wright says Desai is incapacitated by strokes and can’t help his defense.

Prosecutor Michael Staudaher contends Desai is exaggerating his ailments to avoid trial.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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