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Jury seated, openings begin in Vegas hep C trial

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Updated: 5/06/2013 9:19 pm
After years of court delays the criminal trial linked to the valley's hepatitis c outbreak is finally underway. A jury was seated this morning in the case against Dr. Dipak Desai, and opening statements came this afternoon. News 3's Elizabeth Donatelli is at the Regional Justice Center with more information.

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- A jury is seated and prosecutors are making opening statements in the trial of a former endoscopy clinic owner and an employee accused of causing a 2007 Las Vegas hepatitis C outbreak.

Twelve jurors and six alternates were selected Monday in Clark County District Court for the trial of former Dr. Dipak Desai (DEE'-pahk deh-SEYE') and former nurse-anesthetist Ronald Lakeman.

They've pleaded not guilty to charges including murder, fraud and criminal neglect in the outbreak that became public in 2008.

Convictions could put each in prison for the rest of their lives.

Health officials notified 50,000 people to get tested for blood-borne diseases, and determined that nine people contracted hepatitis C at a Desai clinic where Lakeman also worked. One patient later died.

Trial could take six weeks or more.

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