| GREENBELT, Md., March 17
GREENBELT, Md., March 17 A federal judge is
considering whether to dismiss an indictment against a former
GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK.L) lawyer after new evidence emerged
about possible prosecutorial errors in her indictment.
The lawyer, Lauren Stevens, was charged in November with
obstructing a Food and Drug Administration probe into Glaxo's
marketing of its antidepressant drug Wellbutrin.
At a hearing on Thursday in Greenbelt, Maryland, Stevens'
attorney asked U.S. District Judge Roger Titus to throw out the
indictment, arguing that prosecutors failed to properly answer
a question raised by a grand juror about Stevens' defense.
The question concerned whether it was relevant that Stevens
received advice from others. Stevens' defense lawyers have said
she was acting on the advice of Glaxo's law firm, King &
Spalding, a so-called advice-of-counsel defense.
"The problems here are fundamental, obvious and I don't
think they can be defended," Stevens' attorney, Reid
At Thursday's hearing, Titus asked prosecutors pointed
questions about how they responded to the grand jury request.
"The question is whether the answer was correct, and if not,
what's the remedy?" he asked.
Titus did not say when he would issue a ruling, but raised
the possibility of throwing out the current indictment while
allowing prosecutors to start new grand jury proceedings and
seek a new indictment.
Patrick Jasperse, a lawyer for the government, said that
prosecutors essentially fulfilled their duty before the grand
jury and that it would be "extreme" to throw out the
"Could the answer have been more articulate and complete?
Absolutely," Jasperse said. "But the government basically got
After the hearing, Weingarten and Jasperse declined to
comment. King & Spalding spokesman Les Zuke declined to comment
on the firm's role.
Grand jury proceedings are typically secret, but some
portions of this one were made public in court filings that
were part of the defense's effort to dismiss the indictment.
(Reporting by Carlyn Kolker of Reuters Legal; Editing by