UPDATE: Defense brings forward first witness in Robertson trial
Jonathan Robertson faces charges for allegedly exchanging narcotic prescriptions for sexual favors, delivering a controlled substance causing death and other related offenses.
MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - The defense called its first witnesses to the stand in the fifth day of a former Marquette doctor’s trial.
Friday morning a previous employee of Johnathon Robertson’s practice, Sage Premiere Healthcare Clinic took the stand. They testified that during their tenure at the clinic, they did not witness any inappropriate behavior between Robertson and his patients.
The prosecution, however, countered by pointing out that select information was left blank on a number of patients’ forms. Robertson too took the stand this afternoon, detailing his visits with patients and the events leading to his arrest.
Johnson faces charges relating to criminal sexual conduct and delivering a controlled substance causing death. The trial will continue on Monday morning.
Last published: Jun 16, 2022 6:50:05 PM
The trial of a former Marquette area doctor continued Thursday. Jonathan Robertson faces charges for criminal sexual conduct and delivering a controlled substance causing death, among others.
Thursday morning the prosecution called a friend of one of the alleged victims to the stand. He testified that he drove one victim to appointments to receive medication.
The victim later testified that on several occasions she performed a sex act on the former doctor. The prosecution is expected to call two more witnesses Friday morning. The trial continues at 8:30 a.m. Friday.
Last published: Jun 15, 2022 4:43:43 PM
Wednesday continued further witness testimony, with Dr. Carl Christensen taking the stand. Dr. Christensen, an addiction medicine specialist with experience in gynecology has worked in cities across Michigan.
The defense cross-examined Dr. Christensen, talking about whether or not Dr. Robertson broke CDC guidelines when prescribing Moyle a high dose of Oxycodone on March 29. Dr. Christensen said Robertson was in his right to prescribe Moyle Oxycodone according to the CDC guidelines on prescribing opioids. Dr. Christensen did add that Dr. Robertson was only in his right if he knowingly prescribed the narcotics to Moyle, “if it was done safely.”
The CDC guidelines recommend opioids are only prescribed for pain management to adults over 18 years old that are in primary care. The CDC guidelines for prescribing opioids also read, “Recommendations focus on the use of opioids in treating chronic pain (pain lasting longer than 3 months or past the time of normal tissue healing) outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care.”
Dr. Christensen also testified under cross-examination that he made a mistake when speaking to police in 2018 about Robertson’s prescriptions. Dr. Christensen added he told law enforcement agents that he believed Moyle was trading Oxycodone for Oxymorphone, a more powerful narcotic.
The defense furthered its cross-examination by telling Dr. Christensen that Moyle had many different narcotics in his house at the time of his death, trying to prove that Robertson’s Oxycodone prescription is not what Moyle used to overdose and die. Toxicology reports exhibited by the defense showed that Moyle’s Oxycodone levels were normal during his time of death.
Dr. Christensen also testified under cross-examination that he was unaware of Robertson’s alleged sexual assaults when speaking to police in 2018.
The prosecution then came back to re-examine Dr. Christensen. Dr. Christensen added that he believes Robertson’s Oxycodone prescriptions to Moyle were not in good faith and not in the standard practice of medicine.
Other witnesses took the stand after the prosecution finished re-examining Dr. Christensen on Wednesday afternoon.
Further witness testimony is set to resume Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m.
Last published: Jun 14, 2022 4:43:43 PM
Jonathan Robertson is a Marquette area doctor who is facing Criminal Sexual Conduct charges, charges for delivering a controlled substance causing death and others.
Robertson appeared in Marquette County Circuit Court again on Wednesday.
Robertson, whose medical license was temporarily suspended in Sept. 2018 by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, worked in Harvey at Sage Premiere Healthcare Clinic. Robertson also had an office in Traverse City.
Robertson was charged in 2018 following an investigation for allegedly prescribing narcotics in exchange for sexual favors. The prosecution, led by Michigan Assistant Attorney General Robert Hayes, alleged Robertson also delivered a controlled substance resulting in the death of Thomas Moyle.
Jury selection comprised the entirety of the first day of the trial on Monday.
Tuesday, the defense and prosecution laid out their opening statements to the jury.
“He has violated their trust,” Prosecuting Attorney Robert Hayes exclaimed in his opening statement. “He has violated his oath as a doctor.”
Defense Attorney Karl Numinen reminded the jury to listen carefully to both sides of the story before reaching a verdict at the end of the trial.
“Keep an open mind,” Numinen said. “There is a lot more to this story.”
Robertson is facing 15 charges total stemming from early 2014 to late 2017:
- 3 counts of criminal sexual conduct first degree during felony;
- 2 counts of criminal sexual conduct third degree force or coercion;
- 1 count of delivery of controlled substance causing death;
- 5 counts delivery/manufacture of a controlled substance (narc/cocaine), less than 50 grams;
- 1 count delivery/manufacture of a controlled substance (schedule four drug and marijuana);
- 2 counts of controlled substance possession less than 25 grams.
On Tuesday, the prosecution mainly focused witness testimony on the 1 count of delivery of a controlled substance causing death. The prosecution alleged that Thomas Moyle’s overdose death was caused in part by an oxycodone prescription made by Robertson. Moyle was a resident of Hancock, Mich. at the time of his death.
“Thomas Moyle was 55 years old,” Hayes said. “On March 30, 2016, he passed away from an overdose.”
The prosecution called Amber Saterstad-Scott to the stand to testify on Moyle’s death. Saterstad-Scott said she drove Moyle from Hancock to Robertson’s Harvey clinic on March 29 for a doctor’s appointment. Saterstad-Scott added that Moyle was acting strange the entire two-hour car ride.
“I had my two kids in the car and Tom did not smoke in front of them, but on the ride down there he was drooling on himself,” Saterstad-Scott said. “He was lighting up cigarettes and they were falling on the floor of the car and I had to keep yelling at him telling him not to light cigarettes up in my car.”
Saterstad-Scott testified that Robertson prescribed Moyle oxycodone for severe back pain at the doctor’s appointment in Harvey. Saterstad-Scott added that Moyle’s back pain resulted from a spine injury after falling out of a tree. Saterstad-Scott then said she went to the drive-through window at the Marquette Walgreens to fill Moyle’s prescription.
Saterstad-Scott concluded that Moyle started abusing the oxycodone pills in the car immediately after picking them up, adding this occurred during a drive to Duluth, Minn. to go shopping.
“He took a couple of his pills, slept and kept waking up in the same state, Saterstad-Scott said. “He would light up a cigarette, the cigarette would fall.”
Saterstad-Scott said upon arriving in Duluth, Moyle was too inebriated to go inside shopping with her. Upon returning to Hancock, Saterstad-Scott added that she started to get even more concerned about Moyle.
“By the time I got home, I had to call his friends over,” Saterstad-Scott said. “I was worried, very worried.”
Saterstad-Scott added that Moyle refused to go to the hospital even though she urged him to. Ultimately, Saterstad-Scott recalled that she brought Moyle home, put on his oxygen mask and propped him up in bed. Saterstad-Scott claimed she spent the night at Moyle’s house on the couch, waking up to find his dead body.
“My son went to go wake him up to have cereal and that’s when he said to me, ‘Mom, Tom is not waking up and he is cold,’” Saterstad-Scott said. “I remember calling 911 and my ex-husband to tell him to come back and get our son.”
The defense cross-examined Saterstad-Scott, claiming she had ample time to bring Moyle to the hospital while he was under the influence.
You did not feel the need to get him any medical attention, did you,” Numinen said.
Kally Manty, a licensed practical nurse, worked with Robertson at sage clinic briefly starting in 2013. Manty also testified, claiming Robertson’s relationship with one of his patients, Jessica Slavic, was strange. Manty added that Robertson did not discharge Slavic from his care as she may have expected.
“I don’t know if Robertson babied her or if it was more buddy, buddy but it just didn’t seem like she could do anything to get discharged,” Manty said of Robertson and Slavic’s relationship.
The prosecution alleged that Robertson overprescribed many different narcotics to Slavic and that Robertson did not discharge her despite signs she was abusing these medications. The prosecution continued that Slavic was not the only one Robertson overprescribed medication.
Jeremy Lassila, a former City of Hancock police officer and current Keweenaw County Sheriff’s Office deputy testified Tuesday. Lassila was the first responding officer to Thomas Moyle’s death scene when he worked for the Hancock Police Department. Lassila testified that the City of Hancock Police Department confiscated most of the pills in Moyle’s residence as evidence, ultimately destroying them after documenting them.
Dr. Todd Anderson, family medicine doctor at Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center also gave testimony Tuesday. Dr. Anderson said he treated Moyle for chronic back pain, heart conditions, diabetes and more for a period of time before Moyle sought Dr. Robertson for treatment. Dr. Anderson testified that while he could not stop Moyle from seeking pain treatment elsewhere, he advised him to find an alternative treatment method instead of going to a pain management specialist.
The prosecution alleged further that Robertson sexually assaulted two women from October 2014 to April 2015. One of the women went to Robertson seeking treatment for opioid addiction. The other was referred to Robertson for pain management issues.
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