Change of plea unclear for Ohio pain clinic owner

CINCINNATI (AP) — An Ohio medical clinic owner charged with illegal drug distribution was scheduled to change his plea at a hearing that usually signals a pending guilty plea.

Tracy Bias, of West Portsmouth, was accused in a federal indictment last year of overseeing six doctors who wrote illegal prescriptions for oxycodone and other drugs at three clinics.

He’s also accused of opening an unlicensed dispensary after legitimate pharmacists refused to fill prescriptions.

Cincinnati federal Judge Michael Barrett held a change of plea hearing on Friday for the 48-year-old Bias, who previously pleaded not guilty.

Barrett sealed the hearing at a defense attorney’s request without explanation and ordered an Associated Press reporter to leave.

Attorneys on both sides, Bias himself and Barrett’s staff declined to say whether Bias changed his plea.

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