February trial scratched in body parts probe

DETROIT (AP) — A judge has canceled a Feb. 21 trial for a Detroit-area man charged with supplying diseased body parts for medical training.

The trial is on hold while Arthur Rathburn gets a new lawyer. Federal Judge Paul Borman says Byron Pitts’ work was “significant and impressive,” but he granted Rathburn’s request last week to drop the attorney.

The government says the Grosse Pointe Park man operated International Biological Inc., which rented out body parts for medical or dental training.

The unusual business was legal, but Rathburn is accused of making false statements and transporting hazardous materials. Investigators say some body parts came from people who had HIV or hepatitis B.

Rathburn has turned down plea deals from prosecutors.

His wife pleaded guilty to fraud last March and awaits her sentence.