17 May (Fort Bragg, NC) – After more than 200 days in custody, a US Army sergeant was released this week after a federal court acquitted him of four HIV-related criminal against him.
Army investigators arrested Sgt. TD in 2011 after a former girlfriend accused him of assault and throwing a plastic bottle during an argument. The victim and three other women later learned that he was diagnosed as “HIV-positive” in 2010.
The evidence against Sgt. TD was overwhelming. Faced with repeated positive ELISA, Western Blot and viral load tests, a doctor’s alleged diagnosis and the soldier’s signed confession, his defense attorneys offered to plead guilty in exchange of a reduced sentence.
With no other defense available, Sgt. TD’s military defense attorneys asked OMSJ to join the case last March. With only weeks to prepare, OMSJ’s team determined that Sgt. TD had tested “HIV positive” during a pre-deployment screening after receiving a dozen or more inoculations that are known to produce false positive test results. A closer examination found no evidence that any military or civilian HIV clinician had ever competently diagnosed the healthy asymptomatic man as infected with HIV.
Last Monday, prosecutors called a top infectious disease expert from Bethesda who claimed that TD was undoubtedly infected with HIV and that Western Blot was the “gold standard” for HIV testing. When cross-examined, the “expert” insisted that there was no need to consider the dozens of factors that are known to cause false positive results.
OMSJ’s team of legal, medical, and biotech experts explained why doctors should not rely on HIV tests that the FDA and manufacturers warn are too unreliable, and were never intended or approved to be used, to diagnose HIV.
Lead civilian attorney Bill Cassara challenged the drug charges, orders violations and delivered the closing argument. Despite the overwhelming odds, the orders violations were dismissed and Sgt. TD was acquitted of all illicit drug and HIV-related charges. After 240 days in pretrial custody, he was immediately released.
Bill Cassara is a retired Army lieutenant colonel and JAG Corps attorney.
After the trial Cassara wrote:
(W)hen I was first approached about OMSJ I was reluctant to do so. However, after seeing the incredible efforts of Baron Coleman and the OMSJ team, I am glad I did. Baron and the team did an exceptional job of refuting the government’s main contention in this case, that SGT TD was HIV positive. Through Baron’s cross examination of the government’s expert witness and the testimony of the OMSJ experts, we were able to cast “reasonable doubt” on that assertion.
Baron’s skillful cross-examination of the government’s expert, along with the testimony of the OMSJ experts, were invaluable in this case. I can’t thank you enough.