In brief U.S. court appearance, Gosnell held for trial on drug charges

    Abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell was in federal court Monday — but not for long.

    Gosnell is charged with selling thousands of illegal prescriptions for oxycodone, codeine and other frequently abused pain medications. It took less than 10 minutes for the judge to grant the government’s request to keep the 70-year-old in custody.

    The request was somewhat moot.

    Gosnell has been in state custody for months. Accused of murder in the deaths of seven just-born infants, there was little likelihood he’d be released. Federal prosecutor Joan Burnes said Gosnell is both a flight risk and potentially dangerous.

    Gosnell was in handcuffs, a green jumpsuit and white, slip-on canvas shoes for the detention hearing in Philadelphia.

    When federal agents raided his West Philadelphia facility in early 2010, Gosnell was writing more than 2,000 prescriptions a month for controlled substances, prosecutors say.

    The government indictment says that number was up from just a few hundred prescriptions a month in 2008.

    It’s not clear when the case might go to trial, but the judge has already declared the case complex.

    Gosnell and seven others are facing a laundry list of drug-related charges.

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