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Flushing doc convicted of manslaughter

By Alex Robinson

A doctor, who prosecutors said illegally prescribed lethal doses to two patients from his Flushing clinic, was convicted of manslaughter charges last week.

Stan Li, a 60-year-old New Jersey anesthesiologist, was found guilty last Friday of 198 counts in all, including manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance.

The conviction followed a four-month trial in which prosecutors argued Li was responsible for the 2011 death of Flushing resident Nicholas Rappold, 21, and the 2009 demise of Long Island resident Joseph Haeg, 37.

“My office devoted more than three years and countless resources to this case because we believed that the public needed protection from criminally reckless conduct that purported to be medical treatment but resulted in loss of life, addiction and harm to patients,” city Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said in a statement. “We thank the jury for their service and diligence.”

Both Rappold and Haeg had each been prescribed more than 500 pills each by Li in the weeks leading up to their deaths, Brennan’s office said.

Rappold was found dead in his car in September 2011 with a half-bottle of Xanax prescribed by Li just three days earlier, according to Brennan.

Prosecutors charged Li had given Rappold both Xanax and oxycodone, a combination the medical examiner determined caused his death.

Following Rappold’s death, Li was arrested in November 2011.

A subsequent investigation revealed he had endangered the lives of six more of his patients and given prescriptions for a controlled substance to 20 patients in exchange for cash at his weekend pain clinic, Medical Pain Management, according to prosecutors. He was also found guilty of falsifying business records.

He faced a total of 211 charges and was found not guilty of just 13 of the counts.

Raymond Belair, Li’s defense attorney, did not respond to requests for comment.

Li was held without bail following the jury’s verdict and will be sentenced Oct. 20.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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