A Triad doctor is headed to trial this week on charges of running an illegal pill mill in Virginia.

Joel Smithers is charged in an 862-count indictment with dispensing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose, in addition to other charges involving addictive painkillers.

Smithers lives in Greensboro, and the charges are connected to his practice in Martinsville, Va.

He has maintained his innocence.

A federal judge last week refused to appoint a new defense attorney for Smithers or to postpone the trial.

The judge noted that Smithers repeatedly admitted that he has not traveled to Virginia to review materials disclosed by prosecutors or to meet with his attorney.

Other charges against Smithers include possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and maintaining a place for unlawfully distributing them.

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