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Hanover cancer fraud woman returns to court

HANOVER, Va. (WTVR)--It was a motion that could have derailed the defense in the case against Martha Nicholas.

In Hanover court Tuesday, the case prosecutor asked to exclude from trial all expert testimony about the mental condition of Nicholas.

The defense in the case admits they plan to argue that Nicholas was operating under an absolute belief that she was suffering from cancer.

Attorney Craig Cooley argued it was because of a mental disorder, a disorder they claim even brought out physical symptoms consistent with the disease and caused close friends to believe Nicholas in fact had the illness.

The 42-year-old Hanover mother is charged with five felonies. Attorneys said that Nicholas lied about having cancer and then sought donations for the illness and illegally used the benefits of Medicaid. 

Prosecutors argued that the insanity defense should not be on a sliding scale, that if Nicholas had mental competence to understand her actions then she should be tried accordingly.

In the end the judge sided with the defense to allow in the medical experts to testify at trial in January.

Several of the charges carry sentences up to 20 years if Nicholas is convicted.

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