Prosecution Calls Witnesses in Butler Case - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/4/03

Prosecution Calls Witnesses in Butler Case

It was day two of the Lubbock federal trial of Texas Tech researcher Dr. Thomas Butler. Dr. Butler could face life in prison if he is convicted in what became a national bio-terrorism scare ten months ago. With weeks of the trial still to come, so far the government has called three witnesses to the stand.

On Tuesday three people from the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center took the stand, all of whom worked closely with Dr Thomas Butler. So far, the prosecution has questioned the witnesses on how and when they found out about the missing bubonic plague vials and what they did when they found out.

All three men described Dr. Butler's demeanor as calm that day, overly calm compared to what they were feeling. Throughout the testimony, they discussed policies and procedures at the Tech Health Sciences Center, bringing up e-mails, forms and grants that had been written. Pointing out that some of the research projects Butler was involved in weren't approved by the health board, and due to problems regarding a previous research project.

Butler had been suspended from all research involving human bacteria. He was officially suspended in November, after numerous attempts to get him to file his paper work with the audit department, so to find out he had live human bacteria in January was shocking to those in his department.

They also found inconsistencies and forgery on other forms, proving Butler had been getting paid double for some research, against university policy. Meantime the defense continued to counter, arguing Butler had the reigns to move forward with his research.

The trial will resume Thursday morning.

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