RealNews

Prosecutors Lay Out Case Against Scientist in Plague Case

In the first four days of the trial of a Texas Tech professor accused of lying to federal agents when he reported that cultures of plague bacteria were missing from his laboratory in January, federal prosecutors have argued that the professor deliberately contrived the story to distract university investigators closing in on ethical and financial improprieties in his research. Until now, the prosecutors had not spelled out how they planned to tie together the 69 seemingly disparate counts, which include lying, smuggling and fraud, or offered their theory about why the professor, Thomas C. Butler, might have lied about the missing vials. The case started as a bioterrorism scare, but now encompasses university research policies, the correct way to fill out shipping forms for biological materials and the propriety of what prosecutors called “shadow contracts” between Dr. Butler and drug companies. Full Story

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