Wife of Casper Doctor Accused Of Prescription Fraud Conspiracy Wants Trial Moved To Cheyenne
The wife of Dr. Shakeel Kahn accused of orchestrating a multi-state prescription drug conspiracy wants the trial for them and other defendants set to begin April 29 to be moved to Cheyenne because of convenience and "toxic" pretrial publicity, according to a motion filed in federal court Wednesday.
"The Defendants' potential jury pool in Casper has been inundated with adverse pretrial publicity which has led to the poisoning of the jury pool creating daunting obstacles already standing between the defendants and even the minimum accoutrements of Due Process," according to the motion filed by Lyn Kahn through her attorney Tom Jubin of Cheyenne.
"This has seriously jeopardized the defendants' right to a fair and impartial trial in Casper," according to the motion. "With due regard for the convenience of the defendants, any victim, and the witnesses, and the prompt administration of justice, the trial location should be moved within the District from Casper to Cheyenne."
K2 Radio broke this story, and Lyn Kahn cites many of the station's stories as examples of the "adverse pretrial publicity" in the Casper area.
Shakeel and Lyn Kahn were arrested at their home on Thorndike Avenue on Nov. 30, 2016, and were initially each charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.
They and Paul Beland were indicted on Jan. 12, 2017, on a 21-count indictment. (No defendants were charged with all offenses.).
Other defendants -- Shakeel Kahn's brother Nabeel Khan (sometimes spelled Kahn) and Shawnna Thacker -- were added in superseding indictments. Charges include illegally distributing a variety of prescription medicines, conspiracy, distributing prescription drugs resulting in death, firearms crimes, unlawful use of communications facilities, and money laundering, and operating a continuing criminal enterprise.
If convicted on all counts, Shakeel Kahn would be sentenced to 45 years to life imprisonment. Lyn Kahn would be sentenced to up to 20 years imprisonment. Nabeel Kahn would be sentenced to 27 years to life imprisonment, and Thacker could be sentenced to up to 20 years imprisonment.
All defendants have pleaded not guilty except for Beland , who pleaded guilty to his charges and will be sentenced after the trial.
Meanwhile, law enforcement agents have seized real estate, millions of dollars in cash and bank accounts, firearms and other property allegedly related to the prescription drug conspiracy in Wyoming and Arizona.
Since the initial charges, the defendants and prosecution have filed numerous motions, including a successful request by Kahn to release funds not related to the alleged crimes for him to hire his own attorneys.
The case was initially assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl, who presided over a number of hearings including bond revocation proceedings early in the case, but was transferred to U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson in Cheyenne where the trial was scheduled to occur.
Skavdahl recused himself from the case in early 2017 because Shakeel Kahn threatened the judge's life, according to the prosecutions' response to Kahn's unsuccessful request to be released from custody. According to a U.S. Marshal's service report, Kahn called Lyn Kahn on Feb. 2, 2017, and that call was recorded in which Kahn said, "'Skavdahl, he's a f-----g a-----e. I hope they record that because he's a piece of s--t on the bench. F----r, someone needs to put a bullet in his ugly head.'"
In June 2017, Johnson granted a request from the prosecution and defense to conduct the trial in Casper because of the large number of witnesses in the Casper area.
Now, the defense wants the trial to go back to Cheyenne.
In his motion, Jubin wrote, "As Lyn Kahn's counsel has work in the case, he has become repeatedly aware of inflammatory and prejudicial repeated pretrial publicity in Casper that jeopardizes an impartial fair trial."
Likewise, many of the witnesses are not from the Casper area including the judge, attorneys, court staff, and those from Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Kentucky Massachusetts, Salt Lake City, Lusk, Riverton and Torrington.
While Lyn Kahn's family lives in Casper, she's opposed to the trial being here because the "publicity environment and sentiment against her and other defendants is nothing short of toxic."
Besides local media outlets, Jubin points to inflammatory and hate-filled comments on social media that indicate she could not get a fair trial in Casper.
"Plainly, they enjoy no presumption of innocent; they stand publicly convicted in the court of public opinion in Casper," he wrote.