The jury in a Mobile steroids case began deliberating Wednesday after hearing from the last two lawyers.
Attorneys for two of the men accused of helping to orchestrate a nationwide conspiracy centered on a Mobile compounding pharmacy told jurors during closing arguments that their clients could not be held responsible for the conduct of three doctors who prescribed anabolic steroids.
Brett W. Branch, who previously worked as a salesman for Applied Pharmacy Services in Mobile, later founded a company called Infinite Health in Eaton, Colo.
According to testimony at the trial, Infinite Health paid three doctors, Kelly Wade Tucker, Kenneth M. Olds and Scott A. Corliss, to write prescriptions for steroids to customers that Branch recruited from gyms, spas and health clubs. Among Infinite Health’s customers, according to testimony, was the police chief of Cheyenne, Wyo.
But Branch’s attorney, Dennis Knizley, said his client ran a legitimate business and that the decision to prescribe steroids rested with the physicians, who conducted physicals and blood tests of the buyers.
“It is uncontroverted that these doctors were respected. They were real doctors with real patients,” Knizley said. “It is uncontroverted that these doctors wrote these prescriptions of their own discretion.”
Attorney Richard Alexander struck a similar note on behalf of his client, Ronald E. Winter, a Colorado sheriff’s deputy who originally sought treatment for a bad back and ended up becoming a part owner and employee of Branch’s company.
“Ron Winter is not a doctor. He’s not a pharmacist. He’s a layman,” Alexander said. “How in the world would he know there was something wrong with that prescription?”
According to evidence at the trial, Branch earned commissions for steroids customers that he referred to Applied Pharmacy.
His ex-wife testified that his commitment to steroids ran so deep that he was prepared to inject his own children with steroids — to help his 13-year-old daughter perform better in volleyball and prevent his 11-year-old boy from being chubby.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Donna Dobbins told jurors Wednesday that the defendants constructed a series of sham memos and meetings to make it appear as though they were complying with the law.
“It’s not what the defendants said, it’s what they did,” she said.