Colleagues defend Ivins' innocence

Former U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease researcher John Ezzell and attorney Paul Kemp recently made detailed statements about the 2001 anthrax case that affected 17 people and killed five.

The statements, made during a seminar at the University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, come nine months after the FBI closed its case on the Amerithrax investigation, the Frederick News-Post reports.

The innocence of accused scientist, Bruce Ivins, who died in 2008 from an intentional Tylenol PM overdose, has been debated by experts who do not believe the evidence against the Fort Detrick employee proves his guilt. The seminar was the first time that these experts had gathered to share their theories and knowledge.

Ezzell, a former researchers at the lab that hired Ivins, went into detail about the spores created at his lab versus the ones sent out in 2001, the Frederick News-Post reports.
“The spores that were prepared in my lab were snow white, whereas the spores in the Daschele and Leahy letters were tan, and the material that went to Tom Brokaw’s office and the New York Post were very granular and multicolored,” Ezzell said, according to the Frederick News-Post. “The material in the Daschele and Leahy letters, I don’t think that was quite as pure as people think it is.”

Ezzell also disagreed with the FBI’s belief that the samples resembled those produced in his lab.

In addition to Ezzell’s comments, Ivins’ attorney Paul Kemp made a statement about confusion between Ivins and the FBI that the latter used to damage Ivins’ case. According to Kemp, the FBI damaged the original sample of anthrax that Ivins had sent. The FBI requested a second sample without informing Ivins about the destroyed evidence, reports The Frederick News-Post.

Ivins sent an unmixed pure culture sample, assuming the FBI already had a mechanically separated and prepared sample of anthrax. The FBI later referred to this second sample as questionable and suspicious.