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Carolina steroids doctor sentenced to one year

COLUMBIA, S.C. (July 17, 2006) -- The doctor who pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally prescribe steroids to several Carolina Panthers was sentenced to one year and one day in prison.

Dr. James Shortt pleaded guilty in March to one federal count of conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids and human growth hormone. Prosecutors have said current and former members of the Carolina Panthers were some of Shortt's patients.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped 42 other counts against Shortt.

Chief U.S. District Judge Joe Anderson ordered Shortt to pay the minimum fine, $500, and a $100 special assessment. He also will serve two years on supervised release.

The maximum sentence for the charge was five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Shortt also faces a state criminal investigation in the 2004 death of a Minnesota woman who died three days after receiving intravenous hydrogen peroxide to help her multiple sclerosis.

The South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners revoked Shortt's medical license in May.

Anderson delayed the date on which Shortt must report for prison until the conclusion of any possible appeals, which Anderson said were "almost certain." That could mean Shortt won't begin serving his sentence until 2008, the judge said, estimating the appeals process could take a year and a half.

Shortt has 10 days to appeal his conviction and sentence. His lawyer, federal public defender Allen Burnside, wouldn't comment.

Anderson said he would recommend that the 59-year-old Shortt serve his time at the prison closest to his family.

The additional day tacked on to the one-year sentence means Shortt will be eligible to earn credits for good behavior, which could reduce his time served to less than 11 months, Anderson said.

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