Ex-doc fitness hearing begins in Vegas hep C case 

A judge is hearing from Nevada state doctors who say a once prominent Las Vegas physician is fit to stand trial on criminal charges in a 2008 hepatitis outbreak.

Clark County District Court Judge Kathleen Delaney said Friday she hopes to complete a mental competency hearing for Dipak Desai (DEE'-pak des-EYE') by the end of the day.

The judge is expected to decide whether Desai is fit for trial in March on felony racketeering, fraud and patient neglect charges.

Defense lawyer Richard Wright says the 62-year-old Desai is incapacitated by strokes and can't help his defense.

Prosecutors contend Desai is exaggerating his ailments to avoid trial.

Desai and two former employees have pleaded not guilty to infecting patients with incurable hepatitis C during outpatient procedures at Desai clinics.

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