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Nov 30, 2011               

me+ME: More on WPI vs Mikovits

Here is a little more on what might be called "The Mikovits Case". I could provide various links, and do provide this one

ME: WPI vs Mikovits - documents in the case

because this links indeed to the documents in the case, and also to some relevant background information, including the following, in case you want some psychological clarifications of the reactions of quite a few patients:

Cognitive Dissonance
When Prophecy Fails

Yes, I know I gave them before, but then they are relevant. Here is a link I didn't give before, to a Wikipedia entry on a book I mentioned before

Cults of Unreason

It must be somewhere among my books, and I read it decades ago, and may quote some from it if I can find it, and until then you'll have to make do with the link, or use your own native thinking equipment.

Anyway... here is a little update on The Mikovits Case, that initially puzzled me a bit, from several sources I got. This is one of the clearest, in Science Magazine, by Jon Cohen:

CFS Researcher Reportedly Surrenders to Nevada Police

As far as I can see, Mikovits or her new lawyer try to play legal games, but then I am far from Reno. This is from RMM at dr. Deckoff-Jones's blog X Rx: (dated at 30 nov 12.55, two small typos corrected by me):

RRM said...


I believe (although it can be hard to pick Gerwyn's/V99's brain) that the idea was that, since Mikovits hadn't actually admitted to stealing the materials, it could be possible (and was even seen as probable) that an enemy of Judy had taken them. Gerwyn is quoted as saying after the return of the neotebooks:

"so the books were returned by an anonymous person. I wonder if it was Billy or RRM?"

However, since Judy's laywer has now admitted to Mercury News to Mikovits taking and returning the notebooks, I'll take that he'll graciously concede the point (as ever). A quote from the article (again, no direct link because of the possible spam filter) in question:

"[Mikovits's lawyer Scott Freeman] confirmed the notebooks had been returned "because they were requested."

"Consistent with her innocence, we were more than happy to provide it," he told The Associated Press. He said any delay in producing the materials—which Mikovits initially denied having—stemmed from her failure to fully understand the workings of the legal system

"Explaining to a scientist how the criminal system works is like a scientist explaining to us how to cure cancer," Freeman said."

As far as I know, the US law holds the same sort of clause as the Dutch law: Every citizen is supposed to know the law. That is, ignorance or incomprehension of the law is no excuse, apart from an insanity plea.

So to me this seems a silly sort of defense, especially as defense of a recently dismissed scientific researcher ("world renowned") who led a laboratory she then had her assistant steal the notebooks from and render to her upon her dismissal. (In case you doubt this, the evidence is linked here: ME: WPI vs Mikovits - documents in the case).

I agree with RMM that it now seems that dr. Mikovits does not deny any longer having had the materials of the WPI and having obtained them illegally, but insists that she did not know - then - she was doing any wrong. I don't think that will wash legally, but then her lawyers may not be able to think of anything better.

Also, as I have noted before, indeed when discussing dr. Deckoff-Jones's statements about her friend dr. Mikovits, ten days ago, in me+ME: Dr. Mikovits arrested - 2, the initial defense of dr. Mikovits through her lawyer Lois Hart was that "Our Judy" neither stole nor had the lab books, notebooks and flash drive, and that it was the WPI that made them disappear.

Others noted the same inconsistency, and here - to save myself repeating myself - is RMM again, whom I do not know at all, but who has a head on his shoulders, which is an eventuality not all patients with ME can rationally plead to,  and this time quoted from ERV's blog, at nr. 203, in reaction to the same news of the surrender of "the world renowned cancer researcher", as I also read in some US journalistic reporting on the case:

Wow, that's pretty bad, although I gather that's really the only excuse there's left to play...

Problem is that not only she lied about not having the notebooks on her own, but also through her (other) lawyer. Having access to a lawyer at the time effectively eliminates any "excuse of ignorance of the law" (even if it were a valid excuse a case like this, which it is not).

Just to refresh some memories, on 11/4, Mikovits's attorney Lois Hart stated in a letter in reply to Whittemore claims:

Dr. Mikovits never returned to the lab or her office after being informed she was terminated. Dr. Mikovits was not and is not in possession of the lab notebooks or any WPI intellectual property. A number of individuals have keys to the office and lab, including the administrative staff, lab staff and custodial. Your client’s concern as to the location of those notebooks, and intellectual property, should be directed elsewhere.


Dr. Mikovits’ notebooks, as well as those of the employees whom she supervised, should be returned to Dr. Mikovits so she can fulfill her responsibilities as PI on these government grants and corporate contacts [...]


Failure of WPI to make these notebooks and raw data available to Dr. Mikovits so that she can fulfill her obligations and defend against false accusations of fraud will constitute serious harm to her reputation and scientific career.


Dr. Mikovits cannot sign the Termination Agreement because she is not in possession of her notebooks, flash drives, nor her laptop computer, which were taken when her office and lab was in control of the WPI.

Yeah, this all so totally 'stemms from Judy Mikovits's failure to fully understand the workings of the legal system'. Seems more like a tragic case of failing to understand fundamental moral values to me.

For more by me on the original defense, see e.g. me+ME: WPI vs Mikovits in court (from 15 days ago). And as to RMM's very last statement: Quite possibly so, but then that is the friendly version. The less friendly version is that dr. Mikovits very well knew what she did and had been doing, but has been found out, by Abbie Smith, by the BWG, by the Whittemores, by her retroviral (former) colleagues, by Science, and by Nature, to name some, although there still are followers of Guru Gerwyn among patient who believe in her goodness, kindness, honesty, and genius, especially such as have no adequate ideas about real science.

Finally, not being American, and being initially puzzled by the term "surrender":

What it presumably means, in legalese, is that dr. Mikovits went to the Reno Police Department, who indeed wanted to see her and had her arrested in California, and had a talk about the cases against her, one civil and started by the WPI, and one criminal and started, it seems, by the Reno police, on having read the testimony of Mr Pfost (for which see: ME: WPI vs Mikovits - documents in the case).

She was not arrested, and I suppose she went there to try to have the upcoming court case of 19 december dismissed, but that seems unlikely to me, e.g. given Annette Whittemore's statement quoted by Jon Cohen:

WPI separately has a civil suit in the courts that accuses Mikovits of having "misappropriated property." WPI President Annette Whittemore today issued a statement that said its civil case will continue. "The damage to the Whittemore Peterson Institute is substantial and recent news coverage indicating that WPI may dismiss its civil case against Dr. Judy Mikovits is incorrect," Whittemore's statement said.

No doubt this story will be continued.

Updates later in the day:

- Embattled scientist in theft probe: Ewen Callaway, in Nature News
- Herman Cain for president!: RMM find on ERV's (see NL, Nov 27)

Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.

As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1.  Anthony Komaroff Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)
3.  Hillary Johnson The Why
4.  Consensus of M.D.s Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5.  Eleanor Stein Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)
6.  William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7.  Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8.  Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Short descriptions of the above:                

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:

7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam/ with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

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