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[BKARTS] Bioterrorism charges downgraded to mail fraud



Here is the latest on Steve Kurtz, the artist who was being investigated for bioterrorism. There is more at <caedefensefund.org>

Steve and Robert Ferrell (Head of Genetics Dept. at University of 
Pittsburgh School of Public Health) are being indicted for "mail fraud" 
and "wire fraud" under Title 18 United States Code sections 1341 and 1343, 
2 counts each (4 total). Basically the idea is that Ferrell ordered $256 
worth of bacteria (Serratia marcescens and Bacillus globigii [??])--$126 
each, about 1 gram each--and gave them to Steve for his work. 

For these to stick, they (the gov't: the case is called United States of 
America vs. Steven Kurtz and Robert Ferrell) have to prove criminal 
intent--they have to prove that the two schemed, as in "Oh boy, we'll get 
this $256 worth of material for less than it's worth," or something of 
that nature. CAE lawyer, Paul Cambria says: 

"They're basically claiming that Steve and Ferrell defrauded the 
laboratory by buying materials through Ferrell and giving them to Steve, 
and defrauded the University of Pittsburgh. The simple response to these 
charges is that they clearly acted with no criminal intent--the intent was 
to educate and enlighten. If the University of Pittsburgh feels there was 
a contract breach, then their remedy is to sue for the $256." 

The FBI was unable to issue an 
arrest warrant for such small charges, and no bail will be required. Even 
if Steve and Bob were convicted, which is rather unimaginable given the 
criminal intent requirement, they would get off very 
lightly. 
Although the original bioterrorism charges are now completely off the
table, the trial still promises to be financially and psychologically
draining for the defendants.

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