Scott Burke, a retired stage 4 terminal cancer surgeon, was arrested last week on his party yacht in Nantucket Harbor. His defense attorney, Henry Brennan, argued against jailing Burke, stating that it would be tragic for him to spend the rest of his life waiting for a case in jail. Brennan disclosed Burke’s medical condition in court and mentioned that he volunteered in Haiti after the 2010 earthquakes and performed over 110 surgeries there.
Brennan advocated for Burke’s release on bail due to his terminal diagnosis, charity work, and clean criminal record. The judge granted the request and set his bond at $200,000. However, the judge expressed difficulty reconciling the character Brennan portrayed with the crimes Burke is accused of.
The court struggled to justify or connect the two versions of Mr. Burke based on the amount of cocaine found on his boat. His lawyer noted that Burke has a significant employment history and has aided many people throughout his career as a physician. He is known for his generosity in donating most of his wealth to colleges and scholarships without expecting anything in return.
Burke was released on bail from the Barnstable County Correctional Facility and was free over the weekend. His vessel, which is said to be his primary residence, remained in Nantucket Harbor on Monday morning.
Police raided Burke’s ship last week after receiving a call about a woman overdosing on drugs and requesting to be taken off the boat. According to police reports, responding officers discovered multiple guns, 43 grams of cocaine, and 14 grams of ketamine onboard. The Nantucket Current also reported that some women on the boat were prostitutes.
Brennan countered by pointing out that no charges related to prostitution or sex trafficking had been brought in the case. He also stated that this is an abuse of his reputation that cannot be undone.
Residents in the area also informed that a fight broke out between two women just before authorities arrived at the vessel. Another boat captain who requested anonymity stated that he also had a passenger in their mid to late twenties who wanted to retrieve her belongings from the boat.
Burke is facing charges of drug and weapons trafficking and was arraigned at Plymouth District Court.
He stated that he was not guilty.