June 3, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Oakland cancer doctor denied change of venue for trial

Farid Fata )

Detroit — A cancer specialist accused of fraud will stand trail in Detroit, a federal judge ruled Tuesday, denying his request to have the trial moved out of the Metro area.

Attorneys for Dr. Farid Fata and the federal government brought up former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in their arguments.

Fata’s lawyer, Mark Kriger, said the case was different than Kilpatrick’s. “My client was referred to as a mobster. In the Kilpatrick case I don’t recall demonstrations in front of the courthouse.

“I think this case strikes a nerve that wasn’t present in the Kilpatrick case.”

During previous hearings former patients had gathered for a protest, calling for Fata to be held in jail until the start of his trial.

U.S. attorney Sarah Cohen pointed out that change of venue requests in the Kilpatrick and Abdulmutallab cases were denied.

“The government wants the defendant to have a fair trail and will ensure jurors are impartial,” Cohen said.

Judge Paul Borman, in denying the motion, pointed out the jury selection process will use a questionnaire and individual questioning to discover biases.

“If during the (individual questioning) process it becomes apparent the defendant cannot receive a fair trial then this court will act upon the actual prejudice that’s found,” Borman said.

The doctor is charged with committing fraud to enrich himself through health insurance programs. The government says some patients were exposed to powerful drugs despite having no cancer. He denies it.

During the hearing, Fata was led into the courtroom wearing a belly chain and a red Wayne County jail jumpsuit.

His attorneys asked that he be moved back to the federal prison in Milan. Borman allowed the move.

In a separate matter, lawyer Christopher Andreoff asked that the public pay for his defense of Fata. He says Fata has run out of money to pay him.

Andreoff also asked for a change of counsel hearing to be scheduled June 12.

The Associated Press contributed.

Farid Fata )