NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A jury on Wednesday found an Uptown plastic surgeon not guilty of four counts of video voyeurism.
Dr. Ali Sadeghi had been accused of videotaping and photographing patients while they were unconscious and without their consent, and then sending the images to other people - in particular, his girlfriend.
All four of the alleged victims testified during the trial. Some of them became emotional and cried when the pictures were shown to the jury.
The defense team did not call a single witness to the stand Wednesday before resting its case.
Prosecutors have argued from the beginning that images taken by Sadeghi were clearly lewd and lascivious. During closing arguments, the assistant district attorney told the jury, "Sadeghi is embarrassed about what he did. Of course he's embarrassed. He got caught because it's a crime to video his patients in the operating room while they were unconscious."
The defense attorney said during closing arguments that the DA's case was poorly constructed and weak. Mike Magner told jurors, "What this DA wants to do is roll over this man, like they do to so many other people in the city. They want to ignore the facts. They want to ignore the law."
Magner even suggested that the DA's office is more interested in getting the trophy of a guilty verdict against an Uptown plastic surgeon. The prosecutor said the defense believes you don't send a doctor to jail. The prosecutor said doctors who commit crimes are criminals, period.
Though Sadeghi was cleared criminally, Dr. Brobson Lutz with the Orleans Parish Medical Society said the plastic surgeon's alleged activities could have lasting implications going forward.
"I would doubt very seriously that a doctor would lose his license if he's gone to court and been exonerated in court," Lutz said. "It might be a letter of reprimand or something along that line. It's hard sometimes to know what happens on the state board level."
"It was a case that was weak on facts and very difficult to prove," FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti said.
Raspanti said the issue came down to whether jurors believed the pictures and videos were lewd.
Sadeghi will be back in criminal court to face accusations of rape against his ex-wife and a different charge of video voyeurism on June 5th.
"Because the district attorney chose to severe the case and go with the voyeurism part first, it would usually seem to indicate that that's what they thought was their strongest case," Raspanti said. "It's going to be interesting to see what transpires with the rape allegations going forward."