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Medical Examiner tried to hide assistant's lack of license, Texas Rangers say

Court documents say Dr. Adel Shaker had weekly conversations with his assistant medical examiner about her lack of a license.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Court documents shed new light on the investigation that led up to Tuesday's arrest of Nueces County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Adel Shaker.

Shaker was arrested Tuesday for 17 charges -- 15 counts of prohibited practice by a physician, one count of unprofessional or dishonorable conduct by a physician, and one count of failure to delegate general authority.

Shaker went before a judge Wednesday afternoon and learned his bond has been set at $50,000 for each of those 17 counts, totaling $850,000.

The arrest affidavit 3News obtained Wednesday states that Shaker, as well as the Medical Examiner's Office administrator and the Nueces County Human Resources director all were aware that former assistant medical examiner Dr. Sandra Lyden was conducting autopsies without a license.

Lyden was also arrested a second time on new charges.

These arrests come after a months-long investigation by the Nueces County District Attorney's Office and the Texas Rangers. According to the affidavit, the Texas Ranger assigned to the case believes Shaker knew Lyden never had a valid medical license before and after she was hired by Nueces County.

Lyden was fired in January for practicing without a license. Investigators then arrested Lyden in early March and charged her with tampering with government documents with intent to defraud -- a state jail felony. She now faces 21 additional charges -- 15 counts of practicing medicine without a license, and six counts of tampering with government documents. 

RELATED: Former Nueces County assistant medical examiner arrested for tampering with government records

Emails, texts detail concern about Lyden's lack of license

Court documents show numerous emails and text messages between Nueces County employees -- including Shaker and Lyden -- that call into question the decision to hire Lyden late last year. Lyden's text messages and emails to Shaker and other officials show that she was concerned about not having a valid license to practice medicine in Texas and had even asked for help from Shaker and Nueces County's human resources department.

In fact, according to the arrest affidavit, Lyden told investigators that she had weekly conversations with Dr. Shaker about not having a license. There was even a text message from Lyden to Shaker saying that she would continue to "stall" providing the county a copy of her license.

Lyden was employed by Nueces County as a deputy assistant medical examiner for 40 days. During 15 of those days she was conducting autopsies.

RELATED: Nueces County chief medical examiner arrested

The affidavit also details Shaker's handwritten notes stating that he had received Lyden's temporary provisional license number. However, after a check with the Texas Medical Board, investigators said there was no information tied to that number.

Shaker's case was initially sent to Judge Inna Klein's court. However, 3News learned Wednesday afternoon that Klein recused herself from the case. It will now go to Judge David Stith's court. He is also overseeing Lyden's case.

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