Insys Exec John Kapoor Appears in Arizona Court in Tennis Shoes, Pays $1M Bail

John Kapoor, founder and chairman of Insys Therapeutics, appeared in federal court on Thursday on bribery and conspiracy charges.
John Kapoor, founder and chairman of Insys Therapeutics, appeared in federal court on Thursday on bribery and conspiracy charges. University at Buffalo
(UPDATE: On May 2, 2019, Insys founder John Kapoor and several former Insys executives were found guilty by a federal jury of racketeering and bribery-related crimes. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 18, 2019.)

If the first time you saw John Kapoor was during his initial appearance in Arizona U.S. District Court on Thursday afternoon, you'd never know he was once worth $2.1 billion.

The founder and chairman of Insys Therapeutics stood before Judge Michelle Burns in a thin, slate-blue T-shirt, baggy, gray athletic shorts, and worn blue-and-silver tennis shoes. His hair looked unkempt and his expression remained pensive.

During his 20-minute appearance, Burns made sure Kapoor understood his charges — namely, plotting to profit from distributing and marketing a powerful opioid narcotic using bribes and fraud.

Kapoor's lawyers said he'd agreed to post $1 million bail. The billionaire had also agreed to be fitted that day for an electronic monitoring bracelet that will ensure he stays in Maricopa County until his November 16 arraignment in Boston. Burns told him to hand over his passport and travel documents and — ironically — reminded Kapoor not to use any drugs without a prescription.

Before the hearing, the 74-year-old Kapoor was escorted into the courtroom in handcuffs with a silver chain around his waist. He blended in sitting against a wall next to a man in a Superman T-shirt and more than five other alleged criminals. The only thing setting Kapoor apart was his straight posture and evident man-spreading.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts claims Kapoor and other executives at the Chandler-based firm, which produces a fentanyl spray called Subsys containing a narcotic 80 times more powerful than morphine, took part in a conspiracy that contributed to the current opioid epidemic in the United States.

Just this morning, President Donald Trump announced a nationwide public health emergency in response to the opioid crisis in America.

When asked after the hearing about the national attention surrounding the opioid epidemic that arose at about the same time Insys was selling fentanyl, Kapoor's lawyer Brian Kelly called it a "curious coincidence in timing."

Kelly asserted to reporters that Kapoor is innocent and said that his team will "fight vigorously" to prove it.

Kapoor plopped down in a chair at the edge of the courtroom as his lawyers fiddled with paperwork after the judge announced his bail conditions.

After one last consultation with Kelly, a man in a U.S. Marshal jacket looked at Kapoor and pointed to the door. Kapoor walked quietly out of the courtroom.
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Molly Longman