More Laughter – Dr. Judy Mikovits Arrest and Warrants(?)…
I’ve been making a mistake these days, and maybe you have as well. I assumed the critics of my two books with Dr. Judy Mikovits had actually read them, or at least the first couple pages.
Let me make a bold statement…
…the critics of Dr. Mikovits are a couple of dumb-ass knuckleheads who haven’t done a single bit of research. I figured most most members of the press had learned by the time they get out of middle school they should do their own research before offering an opinion.
Apparently, that isn’t required to work in the mainstream media. They claim we don’t talk about her arrest because “we are ashamed of it.” Nothing could be further from the truth. We talk about it AT LENGTH because we are ENRAGED by it, along with the other legal shenanigans.
In this video with Ben Swann (starting at about 5:20)…
…he shows her Ventura County Booking form, which has NO CHARGE, and the arrest warrant from Reno, Nevada, which has NO SIGNATURE from a judge.
The arrest warrant is bizarrely stamped by the University of Nevada, Reno. It also claims she is a “Fugitive from Justice” which requires there to be an underlying crime. There is NO UNDERLYING CRIME, not even a parking ticket. This is why Dr. Mikovits CORRECTLY STATES she was “not charged” and there was no arrest warrant, because they were invalid.
What follows is selections from the Prologue to our first book, PLAGUE, published in 2014. For those members of the media who aren’t aware what a prologue is, it’s the opening of a book, usually coming right after the Foreword.
In this instance, the Foreword was written by Hillary Johnson, a former editor at Rolling Stone magazine. For those keeping score, Hillary Johnson is a real journalist, not a pale imitation of what we have today.
PROLOGUE – The Arrest
I began comparing Judy Mikovits to Joan of Arc. The scientists will burn her at the stake, but her faithful following will have her canonized. – Dr. John Coffin (Author’s note – Seriously, could there ever be a better villain name than Dr. Coffin?)
Friday, November 18, 2011
“Is Dr. Judy home? I’m Jamie. I’m a patient and she knows me very well. She’ll remember me. She said to come by at any time.”
That’s odd, Mikovits thought. Patients rarely showed up at her door. The only Jamie she could think of was miles across the ocean in Hawaii, hardly a place ones comes from unannounced. “That’s okay, David. I’ll take it,” she said. She swept past her husband, giving him a quick glance to indicate everything was okay as she walked to the door of her southern California beach bungalow.
Judy often wondered what David must think of her crazy life. Did he know he was signing up for a roller coaster ride when they married? She might be the world-famous rock-star scientist, but he was the rock. As a teenager growing up in Philadelphia, Judy’s husband, David, had danced on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand to musicians such as Sam Cooke, Neil Sedaka, and the Everly Brothers. In his professional life he had been a personnel manager for various hospitals. He was the kind of man who was good at listening, understanding people, and defusing tense situations. She was often called the brilliant one, but it was David who understood what others tried to keep hidden.
The woman standing at the door was tall and dark-haired, dressed in black. “Hi, Dr. Judy,” the woman said. “Do you remember me?”
Judy Mikovits has her PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology from George Washington University and was an AIDS and cancer researcher of more than thirty years.
But people often said she had a second career – a calling in the language of her strong Christian faith – as a patient advocate. Over the years she had run volunteer cancer support groups and would often research and review treatment options for people and accompany them on doctor visits. Most people were terrified to be suddenly thrown into the medical system and were reassured by having someone along who understood the science. She also found that the majority of doctors welcomed the opinion of a researcher as they often complained that they didn’t have time to keep up on the latest research.
Most people she helped referred to themselves as her “patients” even though she was not a treating physician. In the past few years she had moved from cancer research into a high-profile investigation of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), taking the position of research director at the start-up Whittemore-Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease (WPI), housed at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) campus. Mikovits developed the entire research program that culminated in an article in 2009 in the highly prestigious research journal, Science, showing an association between a newly discovered human retrovirus, XRMV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) and ME/CFS. There had been a partial retraction of the work a month earlier, but for many reasons Mikovits still believed the theory was sound and needed rigorous validation.
Over the past five years Mikovits had counseled ME/CFS patients…
…in much the same manner as she had counseled cancer patients and felt she could pretty quickly tell if a person was suffering from the disorder. Patients were often unnaturally pale, sometimes too thin or overweight in a sickly way, and there was something about the eyes that looked different. She understood that calling what these patients suffered from “fatigue” was like calling the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima “fireworks.” Over a spectrum of severity, many of the most severely affected spent twenty-three hours a day in bed with the shades drawn because of their utter weakness and light sensitivity. Many of the patients had been active, vital people before their affliction struck, with a good number engaging regularly in vigorous athletic pursuits, like running marathons or long-distance cycling. Their physical breakdown was often looked upon by doctors as some sort of unconscious psychological disorder, as if these people who lived life to the fullest had simply decided life was no longer worth the trouble.
But the disease was without mercy…
…lasting for decades and taking decades from patients’ expected lifetimes. The former chief of Viral Diseases for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claimed the level of disability of many of these patients was similar to terminal AIDS patients and those in end-stage renal failure, so patient comparisons to a “living death” were apt. But the years generally did not bring death, although an unusual number of patients developed rare types of cancer, salivary gland tumors or B-cell lymphomas. This fact more than any other is what drew the former cancer and AIDS researcher toward this research. Why would years of a fatiguing illness result in an elevated rate of rare types of cancer? She felt there were some intriguing avenues to explore.
Yes, Judy Mikovits had learned a great deal about ME/CFS in the past five years. Judy stared at the woman in her doorway and felt a sudden chill. She was certain the woman didn’t have the disease and that she wasn’t a patient she’d ever seen before.
“I don’t know you,” Mikovits said to the woman and began to push the door shut . . .
Mikovits had almost latched the door when she heard a male voice shouting: “Hold on there!” A man, identifying himself as University of Nevada, Reno campus security, stepped out from behind one of the large bushes in her yard and strode quickly to the door. Dr. Mikovits knew this man – he had investigated the robberies that had taken place at the WPI when she had been the research investigator. Where she had been the research director.
That was in the past now. On September 29, 2011, she was fired, receiving the dismissal call on her cell phone from Annette Whittemore, president of the WPI, as she walked home. While the experience of being fired could shake anybody, how many could claim the news had been reported in the pages of the Wall Street Journal? The article by the well-respected journalist Amy Dockser Marcus in her Health blog section of the Wall Street Journal had given a fair account of her firing:
Whittemore told the Health Blog that she and Mikovits were not “seeing eye-to-eye” on who controlled the cells. Research on retroviruses continues and their possible connection to CFS as well as other diseases continues,” she said. “We will keep going down that path as long as it continues to show promise,” Whittemore says.
Annette Whittemore’s given reasons for firing Mikovits would change several times over the ensuing months, but she detailed them in a letter sent to Dr. Mikovits on September 30, 2011, which among other things accused Dr. Mikovits of “insubordination.”
On October 1, 2011, Dr. Mikovits sent a response…
…to Annette Whittemore addressing the event that had ostensibly caused her firing as well as more concerns she had about the management of the WPI. Mikovits told Annette that as the principal investigator on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Ro1, Mikovits alone was legally responsible for all resources on that grant and that Mikovits alone was the one who should have decided the appropriate allocation of those resources. Mikovits was pleased that Annette hoped for a “smooth transition” regarding Mikovits’ departure. However, as Mikoivts was the prinicipal investigator on three grants housed at the WPI, two from the NIH and one from the Department of Defense (DOD), she told Wittemore that she fully intended to continue her research on those same grants, but at another institution, once one was found. This is common practice in the scientific community; the principal investigator takes the grants with her if she leaves the institution.
Her break six weeks earlier with the Whittemores…
…had been sudden, but Mikovits was eager to move forward with her life and research. The next day, she was scheduled to fly out to New York City to participate in the celebration of a multi-million dollar ME/CFS initiative to be run by ME/CFS physician Dr. Derek Enlander of Mount Sinai Hospital. Mikovits and Enlander were also scheduled to discuss ways in which they might collaborate after her departure from the WPI. But she would never make that trip . . .
A thud at her feet made Dr. Mikovits look down. She realized the woman had dropped a microphone and recording device. “That’s illegal here,” said Mikovits. “You can’t record me without my permission.”
“We’re just here to get your side of the story,” replied the woman as she picked up the fallen items.
“Fine then. You can come with me to my lawyer’s office. I’m on my way to meet him.” Mikovits again tried to close the door when three burly Ventura County Sheriff’s deputies came around from the driveway. One of the deputies was brandishing a yellow piece of paper. “We have a search warrant.”
The deputies came onto the landing, pushed the door open, and proceeded to enter the house, pushing Mikovits’s husband along with them. “David!” she called out. “Call the lawyer!”
Just that morning she had called her attorney’s office to ask if there were any warrants out for her arrest.
On November 4, 2011, the WPI had filed a civil case against her, claiming she left with intellectual property, specifically her own notebooks and computer files. As a principal investigator on three government grants, Mikovits knew she was legally required to maintain and protect copies of all data under federal regulations and her UNR contract as an adjunct professor.
In addition, since her research was being challenged by the scientific community, she needed to possess this information to defend the work.
The attorney found her trepidation humorous and said he didn’t see anything that serious arising out of the civil case. Just to calm her, he checked. There were no warrants.
But Mikovits still sensed something terrible afoot. She believed she had caused her former employers considerable distress. Viral Immune Pathology Diagnostic (VIPDx) – a for-profit clinical lab loosely associated with the WPI and owned by the Whittemores and Lombardi – was selling an unvalidated diagnostic test for the XMRV retrovirus, one which they would later discontinue selling. They claimed that she had approved VIPDx’s tests, including a new serological one announced under her name, when she was not employed by VIPDx and had not evaluated data or statements made by the clinical lab.
Mikovits believed she had cut off a lucrative source of revenue for the WPI when she had vocalized all of this on September 23, 2011, at the Ottawa Conference, saying “VIPDx lab will not continue XMRV testing because it hasn’t been shown to be reproducible in the Blood Working Group.”
She was fired one week later.
Others were already concluding the test was problematic after the release of the report from the Blood Working Group, the group founded to investigate whether they retrovirus posed a threat to the blood supply.
Next came the replication study coordinated by Dr. Ian Lipkin of Columbia, one of the world’s most famous virologists. A few days after Mikovits was fired, Lipkin had called to ask if she had confidence in the integrity of her former employers, the Whittemores, to allow her to perform the study in Reno.
Mikovits told Lipkin that she did not have confidence that the study could be performed at the WPI. It was not until November 14, 2011, that Lipkin emailed Mikovits saying he had decided not to have the WPI participate in the study, a decision which would potentially cost the institute a great deal of money.
Despite these financial hardships to the Whittemores, Mikovits believed she was acting the only way she knewhow – as an ethical scientist.
The woman in black took Mikovits by the arm and motioned for her to come out on the porch. “We just want to hear your side of the story,” the woman repeated. “Do you have any WPI property?”
“I do not,” Dr. Mikovits answered. “Everything in this house is mine.”
She knew what they were looking for. The research notebooks. The notebooks which she feared would have ended up at the bottom of Lake Tahoe, been altered, or otherwise kept from public view had she not secured them.
The open access to research, especially research funded by the government was the property of all. She didn’t have the notebooks, didn’t even know where they were, but she knew they were safe. She believed that her assistant, Max Pfost, had secured them. Whatever she had discovered, or the mistakes she had made, the evidence would be there for all the world to see.
“Do you have a black laptop?” the woman in black asked.
“Yes, it’s sitting right on the table, but it’s mine. It was a gift.”
(The next section describes how the black laptop computer was given to Dr. Mikovits by Annette Whittemore at the 2007 WPI Christmas party, four years earlier.)
“You’re under arrest,” said the woman in black, slapping a pair of handcuffs on Mikovits.
“But it’s my laptop!” Mikovits protested.
The police would take and hold, for almost one year, not only Mikovits’s black laptop, but also her ipad, iphone, the MacBook Air she had recently purchased for her Ireland trip, and the silver laptop of her stepdaughter, who had been staying with them for a few days.
“Don’t say anything!” David called out.
“I won’t!” she shouted back.
Four unmarked sheriff’s cars immediately came around the corner form Harbor Boulevard, staging what might have looked to the casual observer like an episode of America’s Most Wanted rather than the apprehension of a figure in a scientific controversy. Mikovits – five foot four – frizzy blonde hair, and just a shade over a hundred and forty pounds – stood on the road in her white jogging shirt and black knee-length shorts. She was shoe-less, having left her flip-flops in the bathroom. One of the deputies noticed she was barefoot and asked if she had anything back at the house. “I was wearing my flip-flops,” she replied.
An officer went into the house to retrieve her shoes.
“Why am I being arrested?” Mikovits asked one of the deputies.
“You are a fugitive from justice.”
The arrest of Mikovits would confuse every legal expert who looked at the facts of this case for a simple reason. Nobody involved in any of these proceedings ever produced an arrest warrant. Under what law could a middle-aged scientist be taken into custody without an arrest warrant.
The question would remain unanswered. (Author’s note – We would eventually get to see these documents years later, as well as the flaws described above.)
A deputy returned with Mikovits’s flip-flops and she was able to put them on her feet. A sheriff’s deputy opened the back door and she was escorted into the squad car for the eight mile drive to the Ventura police station. At the police station, she was taken to an interrogation room and read her Miranda rights by an officer. “Yes, I want an attorney and I’ll remain silent,” she told him.
The woman who identified herself as “Jamie,” now revealed as a member of the University of Nevada, Reno campus police, was also in the interrogation room. “We’ll give you a chance to go back to Reno,” she said.
One has to wonder how many times the UNR campus police have crossed the Nevada border to make an arrest of an adjunct professor in southern California.
Mikovits wondered if the whole song and dance had been an attempt to intimidate her so that she would agree to let the WPI participate in the Lipkin study, which wold represent a quarter of a million dollars for the WPI. Arrest her in her home, drag her back to Reno, and let her stew in a jail cell until she agreed to let the WPI back into the Lipkin study? And if she didn’t agree, who knew what might happen to her in a Nevada jail cell?
“I’m never going back to Reno,” Mikovuts replied, as clearly as she could.
“We’ll see about that. See ya!” the campus cop sneered. After about two hours Mikovits was taken to the Ventura County Jail, booked, and told to stand for a mug shot. They gave her a thorough strip search – including a body cavity search for drugs, (Author’s note – Mikovits would have to twice strip, bend over, and submit to a full cavity body search , once at the Ventura County Police Station, and once at the Todd Road Facility) took her only jewelry – her wedding band – her baseball cap and her clothes and be issued a standard prison orange jumpsuit. She tried to use her allotted phone call to reach David but outdated regulations disallowed calls to a cell phone. The only landline number she could reach was that of her long-time collaborator Dr. Frank Ruscetti back in Maryland. Nobody was home so the machine at his house picked up the call. instead of allowing Mikovits to speak all that was left on the machine was a disembodied robot-like voice saying, “You have a call from inmate.”
Later, Ruscetti recalled having no idea what to make of the crazy message.
Finally she called a bail bondsman and tried to post the $100,000 bond which had been levied against her. The bondsman told her with a tone of disbelief in his voice that a “bail hold” had been placed on her case and she wouldn’t be able to be released that day. “You must have pissed off someone important,” he said.
Author’s note – I conducted an interview with the bail bondsman because I wanted to understand the bail process. Here is how I wrote up that information in our 2014 book, PLAGUE.
“I never had a case where somebody was charged with stealing their own research,” Bill Burns of 101 Bail Bonds later recounted.
When a potential client contacted Bill he usually performed a background investigation in order to get a sense of the person. Sometimes the people who found themselves arrested could be pretty smooth talkers, but their record usually told the real story. Burns talked to Mikovits’s lawyer, who quickly explained the nature of the dispute with the Whittemores and then he did his own research. He was quickly able to find she had no criminal history, that she was a well-regarded scientist, and her husband David had also never been in trouble with the law.
A picture of his new client began to form in his mind.
He had seen a similar scenario several times before – whether it was an overzealous district attorney unfairly prosecuting somebody or when a wealthy individual had influence and knew how to make another person’s life miserable. The information he gathered about Mikovits in a short period of time convinced him that something was definitely out of whack.
“A lot of people suffer from this illusion of how great our legal system is,” Burns explained, “and it really isn’t great. You talk about third world countries. You could feel like you’re in a third world country when you’re locked up and trying to get out. You can’t use the phone. You don’t have the ability to mount a defense. It’s amazing in a country of this size that a lot of people get screwed very badly in our system. It’s very easy to end up losing everything on a case that shouldn’t have been brought.”
Determining if a potential client was trustworthy was important to Burn’s business. Bail bonds don’t get exonerated until the case is resolved, whether that takes two months or two years. The bail for Mikovits was one hundred thousand dollars, which meant she would put up 10 percent of that money. Burns would normally take a lien on her house or other property as collateral for the bond, but in this case he didn’t have Mikovits or David sign over anything as collateral.
“I did a hundred thousand on a signature because I thought not only was the case full of shit, but everything about it was wrong,” he later said.
On the day Mikovits was arrested and her home was searched, the police also searched the home of a friend of Dr. Mikovits, a woman named Lilly. In our telling of that part of the story in our 2014 book, PLAGUE, I give that information to the reader when Judy learns of it, shortly after her release from jail on Tuesday, November 22, 2011. You can find it on pages 204-205.
Judy also learned what happened to her friend, Lilly, on the day of her arrest.
Lilly had first read about Mikovits shortly after the October 8, 2009, publication of her XMRV article in the journal Science. When she noticed Mikovits’s email address as the senior author, she jotted off a message about her close family member who’d been struck by ME/CFS at the age of fifteen and was completely disabled. Lilly was surprised when Mikovits quickly wrote back and found that the scientist often spent weekends and vacation at her Oxnard, California home – as luck would have it – not far from where Lilly lived.
They made plans to have lunch when Mikovits came home for the Christmas holidays. Mikovits told her to be sure to bring her family member with ME/CFS if that person could manage it. When they sat down for lunch, Mikovits quickly asked the family member about her symptoms, such as light sensitivity, nausea, post exertional fatigue, the kind of questions the other doctors almost never asked that Lilly knew as central features.
The women became fast friends, and when the unpleasantness started with the Whittemores, Lilly had launched a public outcry.
As the situation deteriorated from a wrongful termination into a civil lawsuit on November 9, 2011, Lilly publicly posted a response from Mikovits’s attorney at the time.
If she had understood more about legal culture, she would have understood the bad legal strategy of publishing it. But since Annette was posting accusations against Mikovits on the WPI Facebook page, it was already public.
Shortly before her arrest, Mikovits was convinced she was being followed.
Lilly believed it was a credible threat. Soon after, from the second floor window of her house, Lilly saw a man walking along the sidewalk and suspected he was a process-server for the Whittemores. Moments later, he rang her doorbell. Lilly froze and stayed quiet in her home, and then did a few chores.
She soon heard men’s voices in her backyard and then three men entered her house through the back door.
Within a minute, Lilly counted a total of nine police officers in her home. They sat her in the recliner in her living room while the police officers searched her house, handing her an odd search warrant. It listed her address, the issuing judge (The Honorable R. Wright), and the case agent supervisor (Detective Horigan), but not any items for which they were searching.
Lilly later showed the search warrant to her sister-in-law, a paralegal. Because of the lack of specificity in the text, Lilly’s sister-in-law stated, “Something powerful is behind this.” With Lilly in her recliner and two policeman standing guard, the rest of the officers searched her house.
For Lilly, who considered herself a model citizen, having been married for thirty-six years and never having gotten so much as a traffic ticket, it was both surreal and traumatizing. She heard police officers rifling through boxes that had been in the attic for years. “I kept wondering how this could happen,” she later explained.
Mikovits called Lilly at 8:15 the morning after her release to apologize for what she had endured.
“Those were her notebooks,” Lilly later said with outrage. “She was the principal investigator. They couldn’t deny them to her. She was supposed to have them.” (PLAGUE, 2014, p. 204-205)
I think the reader can now understand how careful and thorough I was in writing about Dr. Mikovits and her arrest.
Ben Swann has also done a great job explaining the story. The former Rolling Stone journalist and editor, Hillary Johnson, who wrote the foreword to our first book, exhaustively researched the case before agreeing to help us.
But as just one of the examples of the really bad writing which seems to dominate the media today, I give you E. J. Dickson of Rolling Stone magazine. (How far a great publication has fallen!)
“Plague of Corruption, co-authored by anti-vaccine blogger Kent Heckenlively (and featuring a forward by noted anti-vaccine huckster Robert F. Kennedy Jr.), is, at first glance, an unlikely candidate for bestsellerdom. It’s replete with scientific jargon largely impenetrable to the average reader, and with its countless references to internecine medical establishment grudges and squabbles, it reads more like an embittered relative’s 10,000-word Facebook post against his former employer than a full-length book. Yet Mikovits knows her audience, and she sets herself up as a courageous whistleblower raging against the machine rather than a disgraced scientist with a grudge against an establishment that rejected her. (E.J. Dickson, “Judy Mikovits, Disgraced Doctor at the Center of ‘Plandemic’ Has a Bestselling Book on Amazon, Rolling Stone, May 12, 2020.)
I say again, today’s media are a bunch of dumbass knuckleheads.
Opinion by Kent Heckenlively, JD
Be sure to pre-order Kent Heckenlively’s new book with Dr. Judy Mikovits, PLAGUE OF CORRUPTION from Amazon which you can do RIGHT NOW!
The book is co-authored with Judy Mikovits PhD. It is an indictment of the “Fake Science” we find so prevalent in the US.