May 05, 2006
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.