I-Team: Judge Refuses to Seal Medical Mafia Agreement - 8 News NOW

Chief Investigative Reporter George Knapp and Chief Photojournalist Matt Adams

I-Team: Judge Refuses to Seal Medical Mafia Agreement

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Dr. Mark Kabins Dr. Mark Kabins

LAS VEGAS -- A Las Vegas surgeon recently sentenced for his role in the Medical Mafia conspiracy tried Wednesday to permanently seal a civil case related to the criminal investigation.

Dr. Mark Kabins, who is now a convicted felon, wanted to prevent the public from learning about a settlement payment he is making to another doctor who was blamed for Kabins' mistakes.

The public has District Judge Betsy Gonzalez to thank for making sure this matter wasn't permanently sealed.

The attorney for Dr. Kabins argued that his client has been unfairly maligned by a media feeding frenzy surrounding the Medical Mafia investigation, and therefore the public should never know that Kabins has agreed to pay a huge sum of money to a fellow doctor, who was slimed as part of a conspiracy exposed by federal lawmen.

Read the court agreement

Judge Gonzalez would have no part of it

Attorney and courthouse wit John Spilotro argued that one reason to permanently seal the civil case is because of media inaccuracies, wisecracking that, after all, 8 News Now is known for its stories about little green men.

"He's asking if I saw any green men. I told him I had to check with you," he said.

The judge was not amused. Spilotro represents Dr. Kabins, whom federal lawmen say was a key player in a massive conspiracy involving two dozen doctors and lawyers.

Kabins plead guilty to a felony charge and agreed to pay $3.5 million to Melodie Simon, the school teacher who became a paraplegic under his care.

Federal prosecutors say Kabins cut a deal with Simon's attorney Noel Gage and alleged middleman Howard Awand to let Kabins off the malpractice hook and instead pin the blame for what happened to Simon on the anesthesiologist, Dr. Daniel Burkhead.

Kabins and Gage have entered guilty pleas and Awand is preparing to do likewise. But where does that leave Dr. Burkhead?

"We want to try and clear up my doctor's reputation, which has been sullied as a result of intentional nefarious conduct. That's unfair. It's unfair to him and we appreciate the media's attempts to clarify that," said attorney Matt Callister.

Kabins plans to continue practicing medicine in Nevada, even with a felony conviction, which is why sealing his agreement with Burkhead might have been desirable. But it's not going to happen.

Asked about the terms of the proposed settlement, attorney Spilotro said, "If I wanted it sealed, why would I tell you what was in it?"

Too late for that. In the interest of accuracy in media, the document spells that Kabins will pay Burkhead $800,000 for damaging his reputation by trying to blame him for what happened to Melodie Simon.

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