Surgeon says he lied under oath to protect patient

A San Francisco surgeon has pleaded guilty in federal court to lying under oath while testifying as a defense witness in a gun possession trial five years ago.

Bruce Barker, 51, a surgeon at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Francisco, entered the plea Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Susan Illston.

U.S. Attorney Scott Schools said Barker admitted during the plea that he knowingly gave false testimony while testifying in the trial of Marvin Washington in Illston's court in San Francisco in November 2002.

Washington, whom Barker was sponsoring in an outpatient substance abuse rehabilitation program, was on trial on federal charges of being an ex-felon in possession of a gun at the Holly Courts housing project in San

Francisco in May 2002.

Barker testified that he saw Washington at the time of his arrest by a security guard and that he was holding a cell phone rather than a gun.

Schools said Barker admitted during the guilty plea that he was not present at the scene and that he knew his testimony was false.

An indictment issued by a federal grand jury a year ago alleged that Barker was in fact attending to a patient at the Kaiser hospital at the time Barker was arrested.

Barker is due to be sentenced by Illston on Feb. 8. The charge carries a possible maximum sentence of five years in prison, but the actual penalty will be determined after consideration of federal sentencing guidelines.

As part of the plea bargain, prosecutors dropped three other charges against Barker.

The doctor's defense attorney, Lidia Stiglich, was not immediately available for comment.

Schools said, “Intentionally providing false testimony at a trial strikes at the heart and integrity of our jury system.”

Washington's 2002 jury trial was cut short when he pleaded guilty to two gun charges. He was sentenced to eight and four months in prison.

— Bay City News

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