Prosecutors: Ex-medical examiner at center of opioid ring

Federal prosecutors say a former medical examiner for several metro Atlanta districts was at the center of an opioid ring, writing prescriptions for powerful pain pills in exchange for sexual favors and nude photos.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Atlanta said Thursday that Dr. Joseph Burton faces charges of conspiring to distribute and dispense controlled substances and illegal drug distribution.

Seven other people also face federal conspiracy charges. U.S. Attorney Byung “BJay” Pak said virtually four dozen people have been arrested in connection with the opioid ring and many face state charges.

Burton was previously indicted in October, but a new indictment adds charges and co-defendants.

Defense attorney Buddy Parker said Burton plans to plead not guilty to the new charges.

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