By Brendan Pierson
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A former minor league hockey player accused of selling painkillers to late Derek Boogaard, an enforcer for the NHL’s New York Rangers who died from an accidental overdose of alcohol and oxycodone in 2011, pleaded guilty on Thursday to misdemeanor drug possession.
Jordan Hart, 33, entered his plea on Thursday before U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan federal court, admitting to possessing the painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone without a valid prescription, according to federal prosecutors.
He is set to be sentenced on Oct. 6, and faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison and maximum fine of up to $5,000.
Hart originally faced the much more serious felony charge of distributing the drugs, which carried up to 20 years in prison.
His attorney declined to comment on the plea deal.
Hart was arrested in September 2014, along with a Utah Grizzlies physician’s assistant, Oscar Johnson, who was accused of helping Hart get the painkillers he sold by writing unnecessary prescriptions.
Charges against Johnson, 61, are still pending before Judge Buchwald.
According to the indictment, Johnson wrote Hart monthly Percocet prescriptions totaling nearly 3,000 pills from June 2009 through July 2011 without properly treating or diagnosing Hart.
The 6-foot-7 (2-meter) and 265-lb (120-kg) Boogaard was found dead on May 13, 2011 after taking a painkiller he bought from Hart and spending the night drinking with friends in downtown Minneapolis, according to the indictment.
He had left a drug abuse treatment facility just two weeks earlier, and wrote Hart a check for $4,000 for painkillers, the indictment said.
The case is USA v. Hart, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 1:14-cr-00592.
(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr)