HOBBLED BY prostate cancer, a blood disorder and a partly amputated right foot, Dr. Richard Minicozzi, 79, defended himself in a booming voice Tuesday in a federal courtroom, where he was sentenced to seven years in prison for turning his South Philadelphia medical practice into what prosecutors called a lucrative "pill mill."
In selling prescription drugs to his low-income patients, he was trying to help them, said Minicozzi, adding: "I felt sorry for them. Now I'm in trouble. I'm begging at the mercy of the court."
Minicozzi, who was convicted after a jury trial in March, said that his mistakes in judgment were the result of being distracted by an "insane" brother and having to provide for two of his three adult daughters, who suffer from spinal muscular atrophy that requires them to use motorized wheelchairs.