United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Jacqueline Blaesi-Freed, Linda I. Marks, U.S. Department of
Justice, Consumer Protection Branch, and Roger J. Gural, U.S.
Department of Justice, Civil Division, for the United States
S. Friedberg, Joseph S. Friedberg, Chartered, Robert D.
Richman, for Defendant Moran Oz.
JaneAnne Murray, Murray Law LLC, for Defendant Babubhai
Celine Pacyga and Ryan M. Pacyga, Pacyga and Associates, PA,
for Defendant Lachlan Scott McConnell.
L. Gerdts, John C. Brink, for Defendant Elias Karkalas.
E. Ostgard, Ostgard Law Office, Paul Daniel Schneck, Paul
Daniel Schneck, LTD, for Defendant Prabhakara Rao Tumpati.
RICHARD NELSON, United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on the Government's Motion in
Limine to Exclude Evidence of Defendants' Mistaken Belief
that Their Conduct was Lawful (Gov't's Mot.”)
[Doc. No. 699]. For the reasons set forth below, the
Government's Motion is granted in part and denied in
are charged with a variety of offenses related to their
involvement with an online pharmacy, RX Limited
(“RXL”). (See Indict. [Doc. No. 5].) In
relevant part, Defendants are charged with misbranding drugs
in violation of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act
(“FDCA”), mail and wire fraud, distribution of a
controlled substance in violation of the Controlled
Substances Act (“CSA”), and related conspiracy
charges. (See id.) Each of these charges requires
that the Government prove that Defendants acted with
knowledge or intent. See 21 U.S.C. § 841(h)(1);
21 U.S.C. § 333(a)(2); 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341,
Government contends that none of these charges require it to
prove that Defendants “knew they were violating the
law[, ]” or that they “specifically intended to
violate the law.” (Gov't's Mot. at 1, 3.) The
Government therefore asks that the Court exclude any argument
or testimony “attempting to establish defendants did
not specifically know their actions violated the law.”
(Id. at 4.) Furthermore, the Government argues that
the Court should exclude any evidence regarding
Defendants' mistaken belief that Fioricet-one of the
drugs Defendants allegedly distributed through RXL-was not a
controlled substance. (Id. at 7.) This Court
previously held as a matter of law that Fioricet is a
controlled substance under the CSA. United States v.
Oz, No. 13-cr-00273 (SRN/JJK), 2016 WL 1183041, at *3-5
(D. Minn. Mar. 28, 2016).
concede that the Government “is not required to prove a
defendant's specific intent to violate the law.”
(Defs.' Mem. in Opp. at 1 [Doc. No. 726].) However,
Defendants argue that the intent to defraud or mislead is the
“gravamen of all these charges” and thus they
should be allowed to put on a good faith defense-that is,
present evidence that they lacked the required knowledge or
intent to defraud because they acted with good intentions.
(Id.) Additionally, Defendants contend that the
Government must prove that they knew Fioricet was a
controlled substance and thus Defendants should be allowed to
present evidence that they did not believe that the drug was
controlled. (See id. at 6.)
of-or a mistaken understanding about-the law is not a defense
to criminal prosecution. Cheek v. United States, 498
U.S. 192, 199 (1991). The FDCA, CSA, and mail and wire fraud
statutes do not require that the Government prove that
Defendants knew of-or intended to violate-those laws when
they engaged in their allegedly offending behavior. See
United States v. Carlson, 810 F.3d 544, 554 (8th Cir.
2016), cert. denied sub nom. Gellerman v. United
States, 137 S.Ct. 102 (2016), and cert. denied,137 S.Ct. 291 (2016) (FDCA); United ...