The attorney for a Wyoming County dentist charged with illegally prescribing medication to a woman who fatally overdosed is seeking to bar prosecutors from using text messages between him and the woman as evidence against him.
Lawrence Kansky, attorney for Dr. Christopher G. Bereznak, claims police illegally retrieved the texts from the woman’s phone without a warrant.
Bereznak, 48, of Clarks Green, was initially charged in August with seven counts of prohibited delivery of a controlled substance by a practitioner and other offenses for prescribing carisoprodol, a muscle relaxant, to Ashley Gammon in 2016. The U.S. attorney’s office later took over the case. A federal grand jury in February indicted him on nine counts of unlawful distribution and dispensing of a controlled substance.
Gammon, 25, of Olyphant, died July 20, 2016, of an overdose of heroin and fentanyl, according to court records. Bereznak is not facing charges for the death because the drugs he prescribed did not cause her demise, authorities previously said.
Bereznak, who had a romantic relationship with Gammon, maintains he prescribed the medication to treat Gammon for a jaw disorder. After Gammon died, her parents gave police her cellphone, which contained roughly 1,000 text messages between her and Bereznak, court records say.
In a motion to suppress the evidence, Kansky says police seized the phone without a warrant to investigate whether Bereznak had a relationship with Gammon. He contends that violates Bereznak’s Fourth Amendment right against unlawful search and seizure.
Federal prosecutors will have an opportunity to respond to the motion. A judge will rule at a later date.