Dr. Shiva Akula, whose Federal trial entailing 23 counts of alleged Medicare fraud commenced in the Federal Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans on Monday, October 30, 2023.
In today’s Sound Off Louisiana feature, founder Robert Burns, who (along with community activist Belinda Parker-Brown) provided this overview of Day 1 of USA v. Shiva Akula, provides an overview of the second day of the trial, which transpired on Tuesday, October 31, 2023:
October 31, 2023: Burns provides overview of Day 2 of USA v. Shiva Akula.
As Burns stated he’d do in the video, here’s the link for guidance on the nature of the qui tam lawsuit filed by future prosecution witness Kelly Anderson. From that Cornell University explanation:
In a qui tam action, a relator brings an action against a person or company on the government’s behalf. The government, not the relator, is considered the plaintiff. If the government succeeds, the relator bringing the suit receives a share of the award. This is also called a popular action.
For example, the federal False Claims Act authorizes qui tam actions against parties who have defrauded the federal government. If successful, a relator in a False Claims Act qui tam action may receive up to 30% of the government’s award.
As Burns stated, the qui tam action is a key reason Akula defense attorney David DeVillers stressed in opening arguments that Kelly Anderson has been provided with, “boatloads of money” for her testimony.
As Burns indicated, today’s (Tuesday’s October 31, 2023) trial segment had to be scored as a win for prosecutors (at least on paper), but that doesn’t mean the prosecution didn’t have a low point in the day’s proceedings. Here is that low point with near-verbatim dialogue at the trial:
<With Dr. William Blalock on the stand and under direct examination by Assistant U. S. Attorney J. Ryan McLaren.>
McLaren: “Okay, when the FBI first contacted you in early 2018, what did the FBI agent state to you?”
Judge Lance Africk: “Sustained!”
McLaren: “Okay, the FBI agent’s communications with you…..”
Judge Africk: “I sustained the objection!”
McLaren: “Your Honor, I was going to rephrase the question.”
Judge Africk: “I have sustained the objection! I don’t care how you rephrase it, it would remain hearsay!”
Burns has attended many trials, and he can recall only one instance in which a future witness was as anticipated to provide the kind of fireworks that are anticipated for future prosecution witness Kelly Anderson: Brant Thompson (son of long-time State Senator Francis Thompson) in USA v. Murphy Painter.
In that matter, despite all the hype and anticipation of Thompson’s testimony, what eventually transpired during that testimony was a wet blanket.
We certainly don’t expect that to be the case entailing upcoming prosecution witness Kelly Anderson and, as Burns said on the video, he really doesn’t care if her testimony transpires at 5 a.m. in the morning, he wants to be there whenever it does go down!
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