Former FDA commissioner facing criminal investigation

Former FDA commissioner Lester Crawford is under criminal investigation amid accusations of financial improprieties and making false statements to congress, according to a report in The New York Times.  Crawford’s lawyer, Barbara Van Gelder, told the Times a grand jury has begun the investigation but declined further comment. Van Gelder told a federal magistrate in a telephone hearing on Thursday that she would instruct Crawford to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if ordered to answer questions about his actions as head of the FDA, according to a hearing transcript. Disclosure forms obtained by the Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act stated that Crawford sold more than $50,000 in shares in a company regulated by the agency a month before he resigned last September. The grand jury’s examination of Crawford emerged in a telephone hearing before a magistrate judge April 27 on procedural matters in a civil suit filed against the FDA over its handling of the emergency contraceptive Plan B.