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Court postpones sentencing of former FDA chief

[JURIST] The US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] Tuesday postponed the scheduled sentencing of former US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [official website] commissioner Dr. Lester M. Crawford [official profile] until February 27. Crawford previously pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to misdemeanor charges [criminal information, PDF] of conflict of interest and false writing [US Code text] in October. Crawford's lawyer and representatives from the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia [official website] had reportedly reached a deal providing for Crawford to receive probation and a fine of $50,000 without imposing any jail time, but US Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson [official profile] decided to delay Crawford's sentencing Tuesday because the two sides had not explained to the court why they did not follow federal sentencing guidelines in agreeing upon a punishment. AP has more.

The charges against Crawford stemmed from a grand jury investigation [JURIST report] begun after the New York Times reported [text] in October 2005 that Crawford and/or his wife had failed to disclose their ownership and sale of stock in FDA-regulated companies, such as Embrex, Sysco, Teleflex and PepsiCo [corporate websites]. Crawford resigned [JURIST report] after serving only two months as FDA commissioner in September 2005.

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