DETROIT - Attorneys for the Oakland County cancer doctor accused of defrauding Medicare for millions is asking for his federal trial to be moved out of Michigan.
Attorneys said Dr. Farid Fata can't get a fair trial because of the extensive media coverage of the story, but they also said something else is getting in the way -- comments made on a Facebook page.
The Oakland County cancer doctor is in federal prison awaiting his trial as he stands accused of intentionally misdiagnosing cancer patients as part of an alleged multimillion-dollar insurance scheme.
In a lengthy motion filed Thursday, Fata's attorneys explain they want his trial moved to a different district, claiming there is community prejudice.
"You want to be fair," said legal expert Todd Flood. "There's going to be prejudice everywhere you go because of the power of accusation. There's been pages where they call him the 'death doctor' and people are going to Google that."
The attorneys cite multiple Detroit-area media reports -- including this one -- and even a Facebook page started by family members of his alleged victims, where Fata is referred to as "This Monster."
The motion mentions comments from an online story saying, "hang him high," and, "put him through a wringer and drain every blood from his body."
View/download: Fata's request for change of venue
When you Google "Fata" more than 380,000 hits come back. According to his attorneys the case is too popular to find 12 impartial jurors, but Flood believes the judge will find otherwise.
"There will be people who don't want to be a part, do the news. You will find people who can sit and be impartial," said Flood. "I don't see this motion going too far. They have to show actually prejudice."
Meanwhile, federal prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of about $10.2 million, a vehicle and several properties from Fata upon a conviction.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Cancer doctor's fraud case
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