Lubbock Co. Medical Examiner accuses previous one of bribes and alcoholism – allegations disputed

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Sam Andrews and Sridhar Natarajan 720

EverythingLubbock.com acquired a copy of two memos from Lubbock County Chief Medical Examiner Sam Andrews to Criminal District Attorney Sunshine Stanek. 

In a memo dated January 28, Andrews quoted Dr. Stephen Pustilnik as accusing former Chief Medical Examiner Sridhar Natarajan of regularly showing up to work drunk, using county facilities for his own private practice and accepting bribes to change cause of death statements.

Pustilnik said he never made those allegations.  

“There is nothing in that memo that is true,” Pustilnik said.  “Nothing!”

In a written memo to Stanek dated on Tuesday and copied to various county officials, Pustilnik said the allegations against Natarajan are laughable. 

Pustilnik said the allegations are false, but moreover, repeated in the memo that he never said those things.

CLICK HERE to see Pustilnik’s memo.  He refers to his memo as “Brady material” which is a reference to case law.  It requires prosecutors to share certain kinds of information with defense attorneys in a criminal trial. 

CLICK HERE to see the original memos in which Andrews makes allegations. 

Natarajan also said the allegations are false, and he also believed Pustilnik never said any such thing.

“No truth to it whatsoever,” Natarjan said concerning the issue of intoxication. “I’m not aware of anything like that.”  

“I’ve never come in with alcohol in my body,” Natarajan said.  “I was very cautious.”

As for doing private consulting work, Natarajan said, “If I did any work, it was from my home.”  

He said he was free to do freelance work on weekends or evenings.

“Nothing in my contract prevented it,” Natarjan said.  

Natarajan denied all of the other allegations made in the Andrews memo including the idea that he changed the results of any autopsy for personal gain. 

While the January 28 memo purportedly relied on Pustilnik, a second memo from Andrews to Stanek, dated January 29, accused Pustilnik of making unsupportable opinions while performing autopsies in the office of Lubbock County Medical Examiner.

Both memos were written on official Lubbock County Medical Examiner letterhead.  Both memos were dated after Andrews was the subject of two subpoenas by the Texas Medical Board.  

This month, Stanek requested that Texas Rangers investigate the office of Lubbock County Medical Examiner. 

Andrews began as the interim medical examiner in August as Natarjan had announced his intention to retire.  Andrews was appointed to take the job full time on October 1.

Last week, prosecutors disclosed potentially damaging information about Andrews to local defense attorneys.  Chief Prosecuting Attorney Baron Slack said in writing that the information, “might be used as material for possible impeachment and/or character evidence at trial.”

In short, Andrews was accused of changing his testimony in an Austin murder trial and the charges had to be reduced down to a misdemeanor.

Allegations of unreliable testimony were leveled against Andrews in the murder trial of two police officers in Albuquerque but those were not the subject of Slack’s disclosure.  

EverythingLubbock.com left a message for Andrews at the office of medical examiner. 

An update will be provided if he chooses to comment.

Related Story: Medical examiner accuses commissioner of official oppression – commissioner responds 

Related Stories: Continuing Coverage – accusations against the medical examiner’s office

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