Prosecution Rests In Butler Trial - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/19/03

Prosecution Rests In Butler Trial

The prosecution rested today in the Lubbock trial of a researcher charged in a bioterrorism scare.

Doctor Thomas Butler is accused of lying to the FBI about missing vials of plague bacteria. The January incident ended when the feds say Butler admitted he accidentally destroyed the vials. Butler also faces theft, embezzlement and fraud charges.

Consultant Barbara Johnson talked about Butler shipping plague samples back to Tanzania after confirming the bacteria tested positive. Johnson says that's a national security problem, since terrorist groups are operating in Tanzania. Johnson also demonstrated how fragile petri dishes can be by crushing an empty one with her hands.

On cross examination, a defense attorney said not labeling the items would help keep terrorist away from the boxes, but Johnson says labeling the outer package lets people know there are dangerous specimens inside.

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