Two nurses accused of taking part in killing patients at a hospital after Hurricane Katrina will testify before a grand jury, indicating prosecutors could be focusing on a doctor also accused in the case, a source close to the investigation said Tuesday.
Nurses Lori Budo and Cheri Landry, and physician Anna Pou were arrested last summer but have not been charged in connection with the deaths of four patients at Memorial Medical Center after Katrina struck on Aug. 29, 2005.
The source, who asked not to be identified because the case is still under investigation, said the two will testify under legal guidelines that preclude their testimony from being used against them, in return for waiving their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
It was unclear whether their agreeing to testify indicated the nurses had been granted immunity by prosecutors. A spokesman for the district attorney's office would not comment on the case, citing grand jury secrecy rules.
After-hours messages seeking comment from the nurses' attorneys were not immediately returned. Pous attorney, Rick Simmons, issued a statement saying the nurses testimony is not a problem for his client. There is nothing inherently problematic for Dr. Pou in the fact
that some of her colleagues may be compelled to testify under immunity
grants before the grand jury. In this case, the fact that the nurses may be compelled to testify does not signify any admission of criminal wrongdoing by
Pou, Budo and Landry were arrested last summer, but have not been formally charged and are free on bond. The four patients were among 34 who died at Memorial Hospital after Katrina hit in 2005, but the only ones that Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti's office found to be homicides.-- by the Associated Press