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Benoit doctor challenges search of office

ATLANTA -- A lawyer for Chris Benoit's personal doctor asked
a judge Monday to throw out evidence seized from his client's
office days after the pro wrestler killed his family and himself.

Dr. Phil Astin's attorney, Manny Arora, said in a filing in
federal court in Atlanta that agents overstepped their authority in
the June 27 raid on Astin's west Georgia office by taking records
of six patients other than Benoit, as well as three years of bank
records and two computers.

The search, the first of three at Astin's office, came two days
after Benoit, his wife and son were found dead in their suburban
Atlanta home in what police said was a murder-suicide.

Anabolic steroids were found in Benoit's home, and tests showed
Benoit had roughly 10 times the normal level of testosterone in his
system when he died. Investigators have not given a motive for the
killings, but the question of whether steroids played a role has
lingered.

Astin has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of improperly
prescribing painkillers and other drugs to two patients other than
Benoit. Federal prosecutors plan a superseding indictment with new
charges, but haven't said when they will act.

The doctor's lawyer said in an interview Monday that he expects
his client to face more charges of improperly prescribing
medication.

"They haven't indicated anything to me as far as what the
additional charges would be, but I would imagine it would be more
of the same," Arora said. He added that he doesn't expect the new
charges to lay blame for the killings.

"I can't predict what it is they plan to do, but I can't
imagine there would be any evidentiary basis to try to blame Dr.
Astin for the murder-suicide," Arora said.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, Patrick Crosby, did
not immediately return a call Monday seeking comment.

In the motion to suppress, Arora asks a judge to throw out all
evidence seized from the June 27 search of Astin's Carrollton
office. If not granted, he wrote that a judge should at least
suppress all items seized that do not relate to Benoit's care and
treatment.

Arora said in the motion that the "search was done without
probable cause" and it "grossly exceeded the scope of evidence
sought and authorized to be seized."

According to the motion, Astin's office also was searched by
authorities on June 29 and July 9, his mother's home was searched
on June 29, and a storage unit belonging to Astin was searched on
July 6. The motion to suppress does not attack the probable cause
of those searches.

The district attorney overseeing the death investigation has
said Benoit strangled his wife with a cord, used a choke hold to
strangle his 7-year-old son, then placed Bibles next to the bodies
and hanged himself on a piece of exercise equipment in his
Fayetteville home the weekend of June 22.

Court records say Astin prescribed a 10-month supply of anabolic
steroids to Benoit every three to four weeks between May 2006 and
May 2007.

Astin has told the AP he prescribed testosterone for Benoit, a
longtime friend, in the past but has not said what, if any,
medications he prescribed when Benoit visited his office June 22,
the day authorities believe Benoit killed his wife.

Astin is free on bail, but must remain in his home except under
limited circumstances. A pretrial conference is scheduled for Sept.
18.