"Prioritized people would be seen first not by their medical needs, but by how good their insurance coverage was," said federal prosecutor Tanya Treadway.
The Schneiders face four counts of illegally prescribing drugs that contributed to 21 deaths, but court documents tie them to 47 other deaths. They're also charged with fraud and money laundering.
Treadway told jurors overdoses were treated as "acceptable causalties." She also showed a video of Dr. Schneider saying he wasn't a pain management specialist. In a videotaped interview with the DEA in October 2007, Linda Schneider said people who reacted angrily to not getting their pain meds were either "really in pain" or "selling them."
Defense attorneys also painted the opposing side as aggressive. Lawrence Williamson, Dr. Schneider's attorney, said the government had a vendetta against the "highest-grossing physician in the area."
Williamson told jurors Dr. Schneider not only treated patients most other doctors refused, he was also very trusting.
"You're going to learn people came in lying to him to get the drugs they wanted," said Williamson, "and you're going to hear Dr. Schneider believed them."
The defense attorney also told jurors Dr. Schneider never prescribed medication to a patient unless he thought it was needed.
The trial resumes on Thursday. Judge Monti Belot has an unrelated court hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
For a review of Tuesday's testimony as it happened, click on Eyewitness News reporter Cliff Judy's live blog from the courtroom. Expect trial updates on-air, online and on Twitter (www.twitter.com/12judy).
Evening Update (4/26)
By Cliff Judy (WICHITA, Kan.)
Jury selection is underway in Dr. Stephen and Linda Schneider's federal trial, and attorneys hope to give opening statements by Tuesday afternoon.
On Monday morning, four potential jurors were removed after saying they didn't think they could be fair and impartial. Nearly 10 were removed for cause by the end of the day.
The Schneiders' medical clinic in Haysville was raided by federal agents in September 2005, and the couple was arrested in December 2007. Prosecutors say they overprescribed pain medications, contributing to 21 patient deaths by overdose. They also say nearly 70 patient deaths could be linked to the clinic.
The Schneiders are also charged with overbilling patients and money laundering.
Questioning began Monday morning for a jury pool of nearly 80 potential jurors. Once the 12-person jury is chosen, attorneys believe the trial will last 8-12 weeks.
Two jurors revealed personal connections to the case during the morning session and were removed for cause.
One woman told Judge Monti Belot she had a friend at church whose relative received treatment from Dr. Schneider. The woman said she would try to be fair and impartial, but she wasn't confident she could due to her negative feelings toward the Schneiders.
Another man who works in the health care industry in the Wichita area also told Judge Belot he couldn't be fair. The man said he treated many former patients of Dr. Schneider after the doctor's arrest, and he'd already formed a negative opinion of the couple.
During the afternoon session, one woman said she suffered from fibromyalgia and took pain medications. She said she still felt she could be impartial.
"Just because I think somebody made a mistake with me doesn't mean I think that about all doctors," the potential juror said. "Just being a bad doctor doesn't mean you're a criminal doctor."