By Beth David, Editor
Peter Breggin, the psychiatrist who testified in the trial of Michelle Carter, has been ordered back to court on August 21 to explain the content of some blogs he wrote.
Prosecutors contend that in some posts on his blog, Dr. Breggin used information from records that have been impounded by the courts.
The District Attorney’s office has asked the court to order Dr. Breggin to return all materials he was given to prepare himself for his testimony in the trial.
Ms. Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the suicide death of Conrad Roy III, who was found in his pickup truck on July 13, 2014, in the Kmart parking lot in Fairhaven. A gas-powered water pump was in the truck. Mr. Roy died from carbon monoxide poisoning. She was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in the Bristol County House of Correction with 15 months to be served, and five years’ probation. The 15 months was stayed pending her appeals in Massachusetts courts. Her sentence ends in August of 2022, whether she actually serves time in jail or not.
Judge Lawrence Moniz ruled that the constant barrage of texts and phone calls from Ms. Carter to Mr. Roy helped create the toxic environment that caused his death, and that she had, therefore, an obligation to call police or try to talk him out of killing himself. Instead, she berated him when he got out of the truck because he was scared.
The defense claimed her texts were protected speech. Dr. Breggin testified that Ms. Carter was involuntarily intoxicated by the anti-depressant drugs she was taking.
Dr. Breggin was given medical and psychiatric records of both Mr. Roy and Ms. Carter that were not released to the public. Those records were impounded after the trial.
In a motion filed on 8/10, Assistant District Attorney Katie Rayburn asked the court to order Dr. Breggin to “cease any publication, description of any information he received in the course of this case until further notice of the court.”
Dr. Breggin wrote at least two long blogs about the case, one on 8/3 and one on 8/7. The DA’s office contends that he used impounded materials in those blogs.
The materials that Dr. Breggin received from the defense were to help him “adequately prepare [Ms. Carter’s] defense and not for the commercial benefit of Breggin,” reads the motion.
“Breggin has now published two installments of what he says will be ‘a series of reports about the trial.”
The motion contends that Dr. Breggin used privileged materials in his blog, not only the materials that were made public. It further contends that he did it “to further his own commercial interests.”
“Conrad Roy III was never a patient of Dr. Breggin’s,” reads the motion. “His, and the defendant’s, personal, private and privileged information were given to Breggin so that the defendant could prepare a defense. The fact that Breggin is now making public disclosure of these materials violates the Court’s ruling on impoundment, violates the protective orders signed by the parties, violates the discovery rules and violates Breggin’s own ethical obligations.”
The motion asks for the court to order Dr. Breggin to return all materials he received in the case.
The two sides will be heard in court on Monday, 8/21. The court will also address questions from the probation department about how to handle her stay of sentence, such as what happens if she violates the terms of probation. The request came from the Mass. Probation Service.
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