A Reno doctor accused of writing illegal painkiller prescriptions that killed a man pleaded not guilty to nine updated charges in federal court on Friday morning. 

The new charges against Dr. Robert Rand are: 

  • Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances (1 count)
  • Distribution of a controlled substance (6 counts)
  • Distribution of a controlled substance resulting in serious bodily injury or death (2 counts)

Rand's attorneys say the conspiracy charge should be dropped, saying Rand did not play a role in a drug ring. The longtime Reno doctor was among nine people arrested in April 2016 after a raid at a Reno car dealership where federal agents say an illegal opioid ring was operating.

"There was no conspiracy involving Dr. Rand, at all," Jack Fox, Rand's Attorney said. "The conspiracy was between Richie West and his friends and employees.  The only conspiracy was that they were trying to trick Dr. Rand, and they gave him reasons why they needed medication." Richie West and seven other co-defendants have already pleaded guilty.  Rand maintains his innocence, and is the only defendant who has not taken a plea deal.

"If you're facing a life sentence and you've only had a speeding ticket in your life before, it would be really tempting to take the carrot that was dangled in front of you," John Ohlson, Rand's Attorney said. "So far, we've got a client that's been stand-up, that has stood by his innocence, that has helped us, and has said 'I can't take a deal. I didn't do anything.'"

The charges relating to death come with a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.  Prosecutors unsealed a new grand jury indictment Thursday that provides no details but says the other death occurred as recently as August 2015. The victim is identified only by initials, "D.C.-Z."

The other victim was identified only as "M.Y." But Michael Yenick's parents have filed a wrongful death suit accusing Rand of causing his death in October 2015.

The new charges replace his previous indictment. 

"After analyzing their case, I think they realized 'We can't win this case and that we have not charged it properly'," Fox said. "So, that's why they went back to the grand jury."

Rand was denied bail on May 2 and is still in the Washoe County Jail. 

Defense lawyers say Rand could benefit from the co-defendants' testimonies.

"Not one of the co-defendants, when they pled guilty after raising their hands, swearing to tell the truth, said that Dr. Rand knew that they were selling their drugs," Fox said.

"I like going in front of a jury and saying 'You're gonna convict somebody on the word of a guy like Richie West? An admitted drug dealer? An addict? A betrayer of friendship?'" Ohlson said.

Rand's trial is scheduled for July 25. 

To read previous stories on this case, go to http://bit.ly/2qukJP4

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)