FILE - This file photo provided by the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services shows death-row inmate Carey Dean Moore. A federal judge is set to decide Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, whether Nebraska can proceed with the state's first execution since 1997 and its first-ever lethal injection. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kopf is expected to issue the ruling in a lawsuit by a German pharmaceutical company that alleges state officials improperly obtained the company's drugs for Moore’s execution which is set for Tuesday morning Aug. 14. He was condemned for the 1979 murders of two Omaha cab drivers. (Nebraska Department of Correctional Services via AP, File)

Federal judge won't block upcoming Nebraska execution

August 10, 2018 - 3:52 pm

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A federal judge gave Nebraska the go-ahead on Friday to proceed with the state's first-ever lethal injection next week despite a pharmaceutical company's lawsuit that claims the state illicitly obtained its drugs.

U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf denied the company's request to temporarily block state officials from carrying out the execution of Carey Dean Moore, one of the nation's longest-serving death row inmates. He was convicted of killing two cab drivers five days apart in 1979.

Moore is scheduled for a lethal injection on Tuesday in Nebraska's first execution since 1997, using a never-before-tried combination of drugs. Moore has stopped fighting the state's efforts to execute him, leaving death penalty opponents with few options to keep the process from moving forward.

Attorneys for the drug company, Fresenius Kabi, filed a lawsuit earlier this week arguing that state officials improperly obtained at least one of the company's drugs. In Nevada, a judge indefinitely postponed an execution last month after drugmaker Alvogen filed a similar lawsuit over one of its products.

Nebraska state officials have refused to identify the source of their execution drugs, but Fresenius Kabi alleges the state's supply of potassium chloride is stored in 30 milliliter bottles. Fresenius Kabi said it's the only company that packages the drug in vials of that size.

The company said it may also have manufactured Nebraska's supply of cisatracurium, and that Nebraska's use of its drugs would damage its reputation and business relationships. Fresenius Kabi said it takes no position on capital punishment, but strongly opposes the use of its products for use in executions.

State attorneys denied the allegation and said one of their protocol drugs expires on Aug. 31, which will leave the state with no way to carry out future executions .

In an affidavit filed Thursday, Department of Correctional Services Director Scott Frakes said he contacted at least 40 suppliers in six states and found only one that agreed to provide his agency with the necessary drugs. But that supplier is unwilling to sell them any more of its drugs, Frakes said.

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