‘Someone planted pills:’ Virginia Beach plastic surgeon testifies in federal court

'Someone planted pills:' Virginia Beach plastic surgeon testifies in federal court

NORFOLK, Va. — A jury will soon decide the case of a prominent Virginia Beach cosmetic surgeon, accused of keeping medication that was supposed to be disposed of.

They’ll have to decide if USA v. Mancoll is a case about an addicted doctor pocketing patient pain medications, or the case of an innocent man and disgruntled, conspiring employees.

Dr. John Mancoll took the stand Wednesday to tell his side of the story.

That after the government spent the two days laying out a case against him. Virginia Beach detectives told the jury about the August 2021 traffic stop where police found pain medication in Dr. Mancoll’s bag. They claimed he took those pills from patients.

He said that wasn’t the case.

“Your testimony is that someone planted pills in the bottle?” managing assistant United States Attorney John Butler asked Dr. Mancoll.

“Yes, that is my testimony,” responded Dr. Mancoll.

Prosecutors then showed Dr. Mancoll body camera footage from the Aug. 2021 traffic stop where he tells officers he has a prescription for pain medication.

Dr. Mancoll said he assumed the pain killers were his, before he realized they weren’t. He said he didn’t get a good look at what the officer had been holding.

“It was a flash. She ran by,” Dr. Mancoll testified.

“I would never carry that much. It could get lost, stolen,” he added.

And where did the pills come from? Experts said they matched a container of returned patient medicine kept in Dr. Mancoll’s office. Dr. Mancoll claimed he always kept his office locked. He said one “unhappy” employee who wanted out of a non-compete clause had a key. Other employees argued his office was kept open.

The way Dr. Mancoll previously handled that returned medication was a question for witnesses too. Former patients testified that Dr. Mancoll would pour pills into his bare hands while telling them how to use the medication. Some patients said he prescribed them pain killers he knew they were allergic to before asking them to return the bottles to him.

The medication policy came about, the doctor said, because he was trying to protect patients. He changed the policy after his arrest.

Dr. Mancoll testified that he was not a thief or addict. He told the court he never performed surgery under the influence of narcotics.

If convicted of five felony charges he’s facing, he could see prison time up to four years.

Attorneys will give closing arguments Thursday before the case is handed to the jury to decide.

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