Politics Can’t Be Ignored: Patrick Griffin Believes the Facts Will Vindicate the Doctor Charged With Fraud
Patrick Griffin, a San Diego trial attorney, whose client, a San Diego doctor Jennings Staley was charged with fraud for hailing hydroxychloroquine as a ‘miracle cure’ for COVID-19, claimed government hypocrisy, directly citing President Donald Trump’s prime time promotion of the drug.
According to The San Diego Tribune, Dr. Staley (44), the owner of the Skinny Beach Med Spa in Carmel Valley, was being federally prosecuted for hailing the malaria drug for its efficacy against COVID-19 as a ‘magic bullet’ during the phone call with the undercover FBI agent posing as a prospective patient.
Federal authorities claimed the prosecution was an effort to protect consumers from scammers who exploited people’s fear and anxiety during the pandemic. U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer said in a statement that the case alleges textbook fraud because the defendant made false claims about a drug that could cure a potentially deadly disease to someone he believed to be a potential customer.
According to the federal complaint, in a few social media posts and a newsletter to his subscribers, Dr. Staley advertised his own “COVID treatment packs” to patients. Among the offers was a family VIP package at just under $4,000, including 90 days of 24/7 access to Dr. Staley, as well as personalized prescriptions of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for the whole family.
On the other hand, Griffin, a San Diego trial attorney, said his client’s comments were the product of an agent professionally trained to extract incriminating statements from the subject of an investigation.
He added that not a single of around 30 COVID patients was ever told these medications provided a 100% cure and that every patient was given detailed instructions and information about the medications, including fact sheets taken directly from the FDA’s website.
Patrick Griffin explained that, besides the kit sold to the undercover agent, only one other $4,000 kit was sold, and that the rest of the patients received the standard, lower-priced kits.
According to Griffin, there was an immense demand for hydroxychloroquine when the drug emerged as a possible treatment for COVID-19, drawing particular attention during White House news briefings. In addition, Dr. Staley’s clinic began to receive offers of the drug for sale from pharmacies, and the doctor, who served in Iraq as an Air Force physician, treated this as a war situation.
Griffin also questioned why the Department of Justice handled the case as a felony rather than a civil matter or dispute for a state regulatory board. He pointed out he believed the facts would vindicate his client, who has pleaded not guilty, but added that the politics baked into the case, can’t be ignored.