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Judge won't dismiss murder charges against doctor in alleged painkiller deaths

A judge won't dismiss murder charges against a doctor who allegedly killed patients by giving them excessive painkillers.

Franklin County Judge Michael Holbrook ruled Friday that he would not dismiss the 25-count murder indictment against William Husel, The Associated Press reported

The judge's refusal to dismiss the case makes it the biggest indictment ever brought against a medical professional in the U.S. that will go to trial, according to the AP. 

The Ohio doctor worked at Mount Carmel Health System when he allegedly prescribed more than three dozen patients excessive amounts of painkillers that prosecutors allege resulted in their deaths.

The only charges brought against Husel were ones where he prescribed at least 500 micrograms of fentanyl over multiple years. 

Husel denies the allegations and said the medicine was to make patients who were dying more comfortable, the AP noted. 

Husel's lawyer argued to get the charges dismissed, stating the prosecutors misrepresented the dosage amount that could kill patients during the secret grand jury proceedings. Prosecutors said the defense did not prove the jury was misled or there was any misconduct in the trial. 

Holbrook ruled Friday the defense did not credibly argue trial misconduct and the court would not release the transcripts from the secret grand jury proceedings. 

Husel, the only one criminally charged in the incident, will go to trial in February, according to the AP. 

Almost two dozen other employees were fired after Mount Carmel conducted an internal investigation of the deaths, and the health system settled with some families at $17 million. Other lawsuits against the health system are still proceeding.

The Hill has reached out to one of Husel's attorneys for comment.

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