Dr. Thomas Butler Trial Begins - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/3/03

Dr. Thomas Butler Trial Begins

In what promises to be a lengthy trial, both the prosecution and defense laid the groundwork for a journey through a maze of scientific protocol, finger pointing, cat fighting, and the honesty, or lack thereof, of Dr. Thomas Butler.

From the prosecution; news that Butler had been suspended from doing research yet continued to do work, that he didn't pay taxes on money he earned on the side, and that a Texas Tech internal audit would soon expose him. Reporting vials of plague as missing or stolen, say prosecutors, would push the spotlight off of himself.

From the defense; an immediate attempt to humanize the defendant, referring to Dr. Butler as "Tom," that he was working for the U.S. to help us against the attack of plague, that he genuinely didn't know that he must have accidentally destroyed the vials of plague, and that he apologized to the FBI. But by that point, it was too late, 60 agents had flooded Lubbock, he embarassed the FBI and, "signed his death warrant." Hence, 69 charges from smuggling to mail fraud.

Bio on Thomas C. Butler, M.D.
Learn more about the background of Thomas C. Butler, M.D.
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At the end of the opening statements, Butler greeted a supporter, "I'm not supposed to be seen smiling...your smiling," he said.

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