Urgent Care founder indicted on drug, prostitution charges -- updated

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By John Severance

A Santa Fe physician, also the founder and medical director of New Mexico MedWorks, Urgent Care Santa Fe, Los Alamos Urgent Care and Valley First Care in Española, is facing additional charges as the result of his arrest last May.

Richard Lieberman, 63, was indicted last month with a second-degree felony drug-trafficking count as well as the misdemeanor charge of patronizing a prostitute, according to his attorney Peter Schoenburg.

The attorney said the added charge had been a possibility since the beginning.

When asked about the trafficking charge, Schoenburg said all that is required in the statute is that there is a transfer of the drug between two people.

“If you smoke something and hand it to somebody else, it’s considered trafficking,” Schoenberg said. “It’s the broadest interpretation of the law.

Schoenburg said Tuesday that Lieberman will enter a not guilty plea. He said Lieberman enrolled in an out-of-state residential treatment facility weeks after his arrest in May and has another two months left as part of the rehabilitation program.

“There are continuous discussions with the district attorney’s office and there is tremendous community support for the doctor,” Schoenburg said. “We are all hoping it gets resolved in a good way.”

He also said there have been discussions with the state medical board and the rehab process is one of the modes for assessment. “We are working together with the medical board to get this resolved in a good way.”

Lieberman is the founder of Urgent Care Santa Fe, where he served as medical director. He is the former head of the emergency room at Santa Fe’s general hospital, Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center.

According to the criminal complaint, Lieberman, whose practice is primarily in Santa Fe, allegedly was spotted in his black BMW SUV on Central Avenue in Albuquerque, where he was seen by detectives picking up a prostitute. Detectives say they saw Lieberman and the woman, who was identified as Josalane Harrison, allegedly snorting from a nasal spray bottle at a traffic light.

Police followed the couple to the woman’s apartment complex and detectives questioned them.

“The female did confirm that they had agreed upon some sort of price for a sexual act that she was going to perform on him,” police spokesman Rob Gibbs told a TV station in May.

Police also told the TV station that the woman said Lieberman agreed to pay her $100 for sex acts. Authorities tested the nasal spray bottle and say the contents tested positive for liquid cocaine.