Garner, Shoemaker trial

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 17, 2011

Moved again: federal trial gets new date, Halloween

By Rupert Howell and Billy Davis

The federal trial date for former Tri-Lakes Medical Center administrator Ray Shoemaker and Batesville businessman Lee Garner has again been reset, this time for October 31.

A court order signed this week by U.S. District Court Judge Neal Biggers Jr. named the new date.

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Attorneys for Garner requested the continuance due to “voluminous discovery material,” and  prosecutors did not object to the request, Biggers wrote.

The trial, originally set for May 9, was moved to June 27 after attorneys for Shoemaker, citing more than 50,000 pages of government documents, requested more time to prepare.

Shoemaker, 38, and Garner, 66, have entered not guilty pleas to a 10-count federal indictment alleging a kickback scheme between Tri-Lakes Medical Center and Garner’s nurse staffing business.

Shoemaker also faces separate fraud charges for business dealings at a Humphreys County hospital.

The indictments charging Shoemaker and Garner in the alleged kickback scheme involving nursing services stem primarily from the period from May 2005 to June 2007, when the hospital was headed for bankruptcy, according to records of the U. S. District Court.

The medical facility has since been purchased by a local group of doctors who recently announced a joint-venture partnership between Tri-Lakes and Health Management Associates of Naples, Fla.

The indictments were handed down by a federal grand jury February 24, were sealed and then opened March 15 of this year.

Judge Biggers is expected to conduct jury selection on the October 31 court date according to the order.