Atlanta Trial Update: OMSJ Experts Blast HIV Tests

January 19, 2014

The trial of Craig Lamar Davis, 43, in Clayton County, Georgia, concluded testimony and closing arguments on Friday, January 17. The jury will continue their deliberations on Tuesday, January 21, with a verdict expected soon after. Judge Geronda V. Carter issued a gag order early in the trial, preventing a detailed account of the proceedings other than what’s been reported in the press. (See below for links to media coverage.) 

Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 10.04.11 PMAccused of knowingly exposing two women to HIV, Davis faces two counts of reckless transmission of HIV, a felony in Georgia that could put him in prison for up to 20 years. His defense hinges on testimony by experts brought in by the Office of Scientific and Medical Justice, a non-profit investigative agency, who argued that it can’t be proven conclusively that Davis was even infected with the virus.  OMSJ associate Rodney Richards, Ph.D., the former senior Amgen chemist who designed the HIV test and holds its patent, testified Thursday that there are currently no definitive tests on the market today that can determine if someone has HIV. Instead, the tests look for various proteins that are assumed to be HIV. 

The Atlanta Journal Constitution cited testimony by OMSJ associate Dr. Nancy Banks that “The current test is an antibody test… They don’t know where those antibodies come from.  They’ve never been able to isolate the virus from the protein.” 

Davis’ defense team presented evidence that provided an alternative explanation for Davis alleged HIV “positive” status. Banks and OMSJ expert, David Rasnick PhD, a pharmaceutical chemist from Oakland, Calif., testified Friday that Davis’ past crack cocaine use could have caused him to be wrongly diagnosed with HIV as drug use can suppress the immune system “and produce symptoms that mimic the HIV virus,” the AJC reported. 

A film crew from Spain taped the trial as part of a feature length documentary about the case.   Founded by investigator and retired LAPD officer Clark Baker, OMSJ provides medical, scientific, legal and investigative support to the victims of unapproved and unreliable medical and scientific practices.  Of the more than 50 cases completed since 2009, all but three have resulted in favorable plea agreements, acquittal or the withdrawal of all HIV-related charges. 

Press Coverage

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