Opening statements begin in alleged PA impersonator trial

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Opening statements began Tuesday in the trial of an Osceola County teenager accused of impersonating a physician assistant.

A jury was seated late Monday in the case of Matthew Scheidt.

Police arrested Scheidt last September after they said he posed as a physician assistant at Osceola Regional Medical Center.

Defense attorney Jamie Kane admitted that Schiedt lied on his application about his age, but he maintained Scheidt never told anyone he was a physician assistant.

Instead, if asked, Scheidt said he was a student, and no one who worked with him in the ER actually thought he was a physician assistant.

"Anything he did under that setting was allowed to happen by people who thought he was a student, not a license practitioner," said Kane.

Investigators said Scheidt obtained an ID that indicated he was a physician assistant.

Most of the testimony from the initial witnesses was mostly informational about how he got hired.

One witness said Scheidt didn't produce a driver's license when he applied, and later brought a photo copy of it, with his date of birth obscured.

Choosing a jury proved difficult because many of the potential jurors knew a lot about the case.

Most jurors questioned at the Osceola County courthouse said they not only knew about Scheidt's accused impersonation, they had an opinion about it.

"I personally thought he was guilty," said a potential juror, who did not want to be identified. "Let's just say I'm a current cancer patient, so I'm not very happy about a person impersonating medical officials."

But at the same time, many potential jurors said their current opinions would not influence their decision in the trial that will decide the teenager's fate.

Many jurors said they primarily heard about the case from television news.

At the time of Scheidt's arrest, he was 17 years old and was working as a clerk for a surgical company at the hospital.

According to investigators, he even admitted to performing CPR on a patient who later died.

The trial is expected to wrap up at the end of the week.