Judge: Doctor can’t withdraw guilty plea

A federal judge has refused to let a Monroe doctor withdraw her guilty plea to a charge stemming from a plot to smuggle and illegally sell human growth hormones.

Dr. Linda Bunch’s attorney, Paul Carmouche, said he plans to appeal Friday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote.

Bunch claims her former attorneys pressured her into pleading guilty in December 2011 and failed to investigate evidence in her favor.

Prosecutors argued she failed to give a valid reason for withdrawing her plea.

Bunch, who is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 24, is one of three people charged in the case. An indictment accused them of conspiring to import and distribute HGH from China that wasn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration.