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May 23, 2015

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Not guilty plea for Desai in Las Vegas hepatitis case

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Sam Morris

Dr. Dipak Desai leaves court after a competency proceeding Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011.

A lawyer for a former physician-owner of Las Vegas-area endoscopy clinics entered a not guilty plea to federal conspiracy and fraud charges stemming from a 2008 hepatitis outbreak that affected thousands of patients.

Attorney Richard Wright spoke for Dipak Desai during his Thursday arraignment on an indictment handed up April 27.

Desai's appearance had been postponed while he was at a state mental facility in Sparks, where doctors ruled he's fit to stand trial on state criminal charges of racketeering, insurance fraud and patient neglect.

His lawyer says he's incapacitated by strokes. He has pleaded not guilty.

The federal grand jury accuses Desai and former clinic business administrator Tonya Rushing of overbilling health insurance companies.

Rushing pleaded not guilty in April.

Trial is scheduled next May.

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