CHAPTER 3

Bill was seeing patients all day, so Sarah took the shuttle to Sky Harbor rather than pay to park for the length of time she would be gone. She really didn’t like the Phoenix airport very much, eighth-busiest in the U.S. and fourteenth busiest in the world. It had grown too fast, with too little planning. Fifteen-hundred planes handling more than 100,000 people arrive and depart every day, mostly from the newer Terminals 3 and 4. Many first-time visitors are surprised to discover there is no Terminal 1; it was torn down in 1990 and its number “retired” like a sports hero’s jersey in honor of its service since the airport opened in 1935.

Sarah always preferred to use Terminal 2 anyway, when she could. It was older and smaller, with shorter lines and more convenient and better parking. That meant taking United Airlines or Continental most places. She was still angry at United for losing her luggage on the last trip to New York and not offering her adequate compensation, so she swore she’d never fly them again. She had chosen Continental for this trip, with a stop in Houston. Besides, Continental had those adjustable headrests on their seats, even in coach, with the wings that came out on either side that kept your head from falling over when you dozed off. Why every airline couldn’t provide that kind of comfort and thoughtfulness was still a mystery to her.

She had waited until she got her V8 from the beverage cart and heard the pilot’s prediction of a smooth ride for the rest of the three-hour flight. Now she opens her briefcase and pulls out the trial transcripts Gwen had faxed yesterday. There is a cover letter that had come with them.

    Dear Sarah,

    Here are the court-reporter transcripts of the opening statements delivered last Wednesday on the first day of the trial. And here are some barebones details you probably need to know for background….

    The defendant’s name is Tyree Johnson, African-American, now twenty-six years old. He has been charged with first-degree murder for the death of Beth Ann Brooks, white, just eighteen years old when they started having sex, twenty when she died. He faces the death penalty if found guilty.

    You asked for the name of the District Attorney prosecuting the case. In South Carolina, they’re called “Solicitor,” and the Solicitor for the 13th Judicial Circuit, which includes Greenville, is Richard Armand. Because of the nature of the case, Armand himself has taken charge and delivered the prosecution’s opening statement.

    The defense attorney is Bernard Campbell III. His father, Bernard Campbell II, apparently was a famous lawyer in Greenville for many years, and their law firm is well respected. The father’s nickname was “Bernie;” the son’s is “’Nard.” Campbell is doing this case pro bono and actually had to get the court’s permission to represent Mr. Johnson instead of the usual public defender.

    The jury is 4 white women, 3 white men, 3 black women, and 2 black men.

    The judge is Byron Stevenson, white, mid-fifties, on the bench for fourteen years.

    See you tomorrow night…

      Gwen

Sarah reaches up, turns on the overhead light, and closes the air vent. She takes out her yellow highlighter and skims through the first part of the transcript, skipping over the opening remarks by the judge and other court formalities, until she reaches the place where the Solicitor begins his opening statement.

    ARMAND: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. My name is Richard Armand, and I am Solicitor for the 13th Judicial Circuit.

    I don’t usually try criminal cases myself. But this case is different. This case is going to set a precedent for the rest of the country; and it’s high time we took a strong stand on this issue, because we will prove to you that the defendant – Tyree Johnson, seated right over there – murdered an innocent teenage girl, Beth Ann Brooks, just as surely as if he had taken a gun and shot her in the head.

    In this case, however, it wasn’t a gun that Mr. Johnson used. It was a deadly virus called HIV, the virus we know causes AIDS. Mr. Johnson knew he carried this lethal virus in his blood, knew that he could infect any women he slept with and give them HIV as well, and knew that they could get sick and die from AIDS. And yet he didn’t tell Beth Ann Brooks that he was HIV-Positive, didn’t give her the chance to refuse to have sex with him, didn’t warn her that she could get a fatal disease from him if she did. And he didn’t use a condom, either.

    This is nothing short of premeditated murder – murder in the first degree.

    Beth Ann Brooks had been the Homecoming Queen in her senior year at Riverside High School. She was a cheerleader, a Merit Scholar, and president of the Central Spirit Committee. She went to church with her family every Sunday and sang in the choir. She was a freshman at Furman University, on her way to a degree in sociology. She wanted to work with the homeless and the poor. Beth Ann Brooks had the brightest of all possible futures and would have brought hope and joy to so many people.

    That is, until Tyree Johnson knowingly infected her with HIV, the virus which caused her to contract AIDS and die.

    Rest assured that we will be bringing witnesses to that chair who will provide you with all the information you will need to find this man guilty of murder. You will hear his doctor confirm that Tyree Johnson had indeed tested HIV-Positive. You will hear Beth Ann Brooks’ doctor confirm that, after having sex with Mr. Johnson, she too tested HIV-Positive. You will hear the Greenville County Coroner confirm that Beth Ann Brooks died from AIDS at the age of twenty, less than two years after her sexual encounters with Mr. Johnson.

    I wish you could have seen Beth Ann Brooks for the last year of her life. Gone was her joy, gone was her beauty, gone was the light of life from her eyes. AIDS is a terrible way to die – long and painful and ugly. Her face was sunken, her abdomen was swollen, she had humps on her back and her neck. She was so nauseous she couldn’t eat and wasted away to nothing.

    The evidence will prove that the defendant – Tyree Johnson – is the one responsible for her hell on earth. That man over there is the one who caused her tragic and horrible year-long losing battle and finally, her death. Honestly, if Beth Ann Brooks had to die, it would have been kinder had Mr. Johnson actually taken a gun and shot her in the head. At least she would not have suffered so much for so long.

    CAMPBELL: Objection. Inflammatory.

    JUDGE: Sustained. Tone it down, Mr. Armand.

    ARMAND: Ladies and gentleman, please forgive my anger and outrage. In this case, I happen to believe that it’s well justified, and when you hear the testimony we will present, I hope you will feel the same way. Over the course of this trial, we will give you all the evidence you need to decide, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Mr. Johnson knowingly had sex with Beth Ann Brooks, knowingly withheld from her the fact that he carried the deadly HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and knowingly infected her with that virus, causing her death.

    After hearing all the evidence, it will be your duty to find Mr. Johnson guilty of murder. But more than that, it will be your responsibility to send a message to rest of the country – indeed, to the rest of the world – that those who are HIV-Positive have a moral and ethical responsibility to protect other innocent people who they contact from the possibility of infecting them with this deadly disease; and that if they ignore or violate that responsibility, they must pay the highest price possible for their crime.

Sarah sits back and lets the transcript fall on the open tray table in front of her. She understood this man’s anger; she had carried her own rage for years about her brother’s death, wishing those responsible for giving him HIV could have been found and prosecuted for cutting his life short – a life just as promising and full of potential as Beth Ann Brooks’.

She also knows that there will be thousands of others – perhaps hundreds of thousands – who agree with Armand, and that if this trial were decided by popular vote, Tyree Johnson wouldn’t stand a chance, for many reasons. She picks up her pen and writes in the column of the transcript: “Follow up on racial issue – black man, white woman, South Carolina,” then closes her eyes for a minute.

It must have been more than a minute, because the flight attendant is back, handing out a snack box containing nothing that Sarah would ever consider putting in her mouth. But it does give her the chance to grab another V8 on the way by. She picks up the transcript again and starts reading the opening statement by the defense, which apparently came after the court recessed for lunch.

    CAMPBELL: Good afternoon. That was an impassioned speech from Mr. Armand this morning. I don’t blame you for being moved.

    I agree with Mr. Armand that this will be a very unique trial, for many reasons. In fact, you may well be involved in a truly historic event.

    But this is a murder trial, and your decision about the guilt or innocence of my client cannot be based on emotions, especially when we are dealing with the lives of two young people – Tyree Johnson and Beth Ann Brooks. We have the greatest sympathy for the family of Ms. Brooks; the loss of her life is truly a tragedy, to be taken so young.

    But the question you have to decide is how her life was taken. Did Mr. Johnson in fact murder Ms. Brooks? Is he really the one responsible for her death, as Mr. Armand claims?

    I’m sure many of you have watched enough shows on television to know that in any murder trial, the prosecution has to prove motive, opportunity, and method beyond any reasonable doubt in order to find someone guilty of such a heinous crime.

    What was Mr. Johnson’s motive? Is there any proof that he wished to intentionally harm Ms. Brooks? Even the Solicitor is going to stipulate that Mr. Johnson and Ms. Brooks made love together as two consenting adults, a number of times as a matter of fact, over the course of a couple months. There is no suggestion of a forced sexual assault, or that there was anything except mutual admiration and good will between Mr. Johnson and Ms. Brooks – no evidence of any animosity between the two of them, and no reason for Mr. Johnson to want to harm Ms. Brooks at all. In short, there was no motive for murder.

    Opportunity? Yes, we agree that when the two of them made love, there was an opportunity for lots of things to happen.

    But the real issue in this trial is the method. Despite Mr. Armand’s attempts to make it sound like it, my client did not take a gun and shoot Beth Ann Brooks in the head. He did not take a knife and stab her to death. He did not tie her up, or rape her, or violently interact with Ms. Brooks in any way, shape or form. Quite the contrary. He made love with her, with her agreement.

    So let’s be clear from the start, ladies and gentlemen, that if there was a murder, the murder weapon in this case is a virus called HIV that is said to cause AIDS. My client is alleged to have HIV, and to have infected Ms. Brooks with it through sexual intercourse. In fact, the one and only reason we are here today is that Mr. Johnson was diagnosed to be HIV-Positive as a result of what is called an HIV test. If Mr. Johnson were not HIV-Positive – if he didn’t have the virus Mr. Armand claims he has – there would be no murder, and no murder trial.

    Remember too that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty. In other words, it is Mr. Armand who has the responsibility of proving that Mr. Johnson is in fact HIV-Positive – that he indeed carries a deadly virus called HIV; because if Mr. Armand cannot prove that, we have no murder weapon, and no crime committed. Stated very simply, this whole trial hinges on whether or not the State can prove to you beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Johnson is infected with HIV, and whether he could then infect Ms. Brooks with it.

    Now, as Mr. Armand told you this morning, he is going to bring a few witnesses up here who will testify that Mr. Johnson and Ms. Brooks tested HIV-Positive; and they will tell you things you undoubtedly have heard for years from the so-called AIDS experts and the mass media. This is going to be your most difficult task during this trial – to decide who and what you are going to believe; because, after Mr. Armand gets finished, it will be my turn, and I am going to prove to you that there is no scientific evidence – none whatsoever – that Mr. Johnson, or Beth Ann Brooks, for that matter, are or were infected with the virus we call HIV.

    I can see the looks of amazement on your faces already, and I don’t blame you. Everything we have been told for two decades has convinced us that someone who tests Positive on a so-called HIV test has the virus called HIV and can infect someone else with it, especially through sexual intercourse. But I ask you to consider this: What if everything we’ve been told about these so-called HIV tests is wrong? What if everything you’ve heard is not supported by the scientific evidence? What if HIV has never been proven in various scientific studies to be transmitted by heterosexual intercourse? And what if Beth Ann Brooks did not die from HIV or AIDS at all, but instead from the side effects of the drugs she was prescribed to allegedly treat her infection?

    You’re going to hear exactly that from quite a few expert witnesses I will present who will offer you not just theories and speculation, but numerous scientific studies to prove that the so-called HIV tests do not accurately diagnose anyone as having HIV, that HIV has not been proven to be transmitted by heterosexual intercourse, and that more people diagnosed HIV-Positive today are dying from the side effects of the drugs they are taking than from any AIDS-related illness.

    Sound unbelievable, after all we’ve been told? Sound like some wild story made up by a few kooks on the Internet? Well, you will learn that these experts are not a bunch of lunatics, or some fringe element of society. In fact, two of them are Nobel Prize winners in medicine and chemistry. Some are members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Still others are well-credentialed, published scientists who are part of an organization called The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis. You’re also going to learn why you may never have heard of them or the scientific studies they will discuss.

    But the first thing that may surprise you is that the so-called HIV tests used to diagnose Mr. Johnson as HIV-Positive are so inaccurate that they are virtually useless. In fact, you will hear testimony that the Food and Drug Administration has never approved a test – any test – to diagnose HIV infection. Let me say that another way. The HIV tests that both Mr. Johnson and Beth Ann Brooks took have never been approved by the FDA to diagnose infection with the HIV virus.

Sarah suddenly sits up, startled by this line. She highlights the words “never been approved by the FDA” and writes: “Is this true? Check this out!” in the column of the transcript. She finishes her V8 and continues reading.

    Then what is this so-called HIV test? It is a test that is supposed to find the antibodies to HIV. It is, in fact, called an HIV Antibody Test, as you will see on the actual test kit packages we will introduce into evidence.

    What exactly does that mean – an “HIV antibody test?” It means that the test is supposedly designed to find antibodies to HIV in a person’s blood; and if it finds them, you are said to be HIV-Positive, when in actuality you are HIV-Antibody-Positive.

    Until HIV came along, having the antibodies to a virus meant that we were immune from any disease that virus could cause, which is the entire theory of vaccinations. I’ll be asking some expert witnesses why, all of a sudden and for the first time in medical history, having the antibodies to HIV means that you will get AIDS and probably die.

Once again Sarah makes a note: “Good question. Why have I never heard this asked before?”

    But that’s not the only problem with these HIV tests.

    You’re going to hear testimony that a Dr. Robert Gallo, who worked at the United States’ National Institutes of Health, announced at a press conference in 1984 that a virus he claimed he discovered, which was later to be named HIV, was the probable cause of AIDS. There were lots of problems with that announcement that came out later in various investigations, including an investigation by a congressional subcommittee proving that Dr. Gallo had stolen the virus he said he discovered from a French scientist by the name of Dr. Luc Montagnier. Dr. Gallo, just a few hours before this press conference, had also filed a patent application for these HIV tests that we’re talking about. Trouble is, it was also proven that he lied on that patent application.

    Today, the HIV tests being used are based on the very same patent Dr. Gallo filed in 1984, for which he has been paid over a million dollars in royalties. The tests have not changed one bit; and there are lots of other problems with them as well. We’ve subpoenaed Dr. Gallo to come here and tell you exactly how he came up with the so-called HIV test, and we hope that he tells the truth this time.

    ARMAND: Objection. Prejudicial.

    JUDGE: Sustained. The jury will ignore the last remark.

    CAMPBELL: All right. Let’s start with what we know to be true. There’s one kind of so-called HIV test known as an ELISA. It’s usually the first test anyone takes, mainly because it’s the cheapest. Sometimes it’s the only test some people take, although it’s never supposed to be. You’ll hear more about that from our witnesses.

    There are a myriad of problems with this ELISA test that our expert witnesses will discuss in detail. For now, I will simply tell you that there is no scientific evidence that this ELISA test is accurately finding antibodies to HIV in anyone’s blood.

    For example, none of the proteins used in the ELISA test have ever been proven to be unique or specific to the HIV virus. So when an ELISA test comes up Positive, there is absolutely no way to tell what it’s Positive for, and certainly no proof that it’s Positive for HIV.

    This will be very important testimony for you to understand, because it is Mr. Armand’s job to convince you that the test which diagnosed the defendant as being HIV-Positive must be a test that reacts specifically and only with the virus we call HIV, or else the test he took could have been reacting with some other antibodies he had that have nothing to do with HIV. In that case, there’s no proof he was infected with HIV, and no murder weapon, and no murder.

Sarah highlights “reacts specifically and only with the virus we call HIV” and writes “Good point!”

    Very early on, the AIDS ‘experts’ admitted that the HIV Test had problems; so they said that if someone reacts Positive on a so-called HIV ELISA test, they should be given another test, called a Western Blot, to confirm the results. But this Western Blot test has a myriad of problems, too – so many problems, in fact, that Great Britain and some other countries refuse to use it.

Sarah’s note in the left hand column says: “Call Ian in London to confirm.”

    Now, you’re going to hear a lot of statistics thrown around during this trial, and I’m going to do my best not to confound you with numbers. But the scientific studies have shown that, because the ELISA and Western Blot proteins are not specific or unique for HIV, there can be as many as 90% false positive reactions to these tests. That means that nine out of ten test results can be wrong; and I will challenge the Solicitor to prove to you that Mr. Johnson’s HIV test results were part of the 10% that might be correct, and to offer whatever scientific proof he thinks he has for that.

    One of the reasons why there are so many false positive reactions to these tests is that scientific studies have found more than 70 conditions that a person can have that will cross-react with the HIV ELISA test. If someone had a recent flu shot or a tetanus shot before taking the so-called HIV test, they can get a false positive result. If they had a cold when they took the test, they can get a false positive. If they had a Hepatitis vaccination, they can get a false positive. If they had Hepatitis, or Tuberculosis, or Herpes some time in their life, they can get a false positive. The list is very long, and you will see more than fifty scientific studies entered into evidence that prove each and every one of them.

    So before you can find the defendant guilty of murder, you are going to have to be 100% convinced that Mr. Johnson’s HIV test results were not a false positive reaction to one or more of these 70 things other than HIV.

    These are some of the reasons why these so-called HIV tests have never been validated, and this is perhaps the most important problem of all. Here’s what I mean. With any antibody test, like the so-called HIV Antibody test, the test itself must be validated to prove its accuracy. You’re going to hear what the standard procedure is to validate any antibody test, including the HIV antibody test, and the fact that that procedure has never been done.

    In fact, I challenge Mr. Armand here and now to produce scientific evidence that any of these HIV tests have been validated, and therefore proven to be accurate and specific.

    But that’s not all. We’re going to show you that these HIV Western Blot tests get very different results from different laboratories that process them. With this kind of inconsistency, I have no idea how Mr. Armand is going to prove to you that the so-called HIV tests the defendant and Ms. Brooks took were processed correctly by the laboratory they were sent to.

    And now we come to the way these test results are interpreted – how someone makes a determination about which results are Positive and which are not. Right now there are ten different ways to interpret a so-called HIV Western Blot Antibody test. You’re going to see a chart of these ten different ways, and how someone can test Positive using one set of criteria and not test Positive using another set. That’s a big problem for Mr. Armand if he wants to prove that my client was correctly diagnosed as HIV-Positive, and therefore had the means of infecting – and murdering – Beth Ann Brooks.

Sarah had trouble reading those last few lines as the plane hit some unexpected turbulence. The captain’s voice on the intercom is apologetic, requesting that everyone return to their seats and fasten their seatbelts while they try to find some smoother air. Sarah checks her own seatbelt, which she had never unfastened, and gives a little tug on the short end to tighten it just a bit. Then she goes back to her reading.

    Let me mention just one more thing, and then we’re going to leave these awful so-called HIV-Antibody tests and move on to other issues. You’re going to meet Dr. Robert Richardson, one of our expert witnesses. Dr. Richardson worked in collaboration with the company that developed the first so-called HIV tests – the ELISA test. Dr. Richardson is going to tell you that these tests cannot be used to diagnose HIV infection. He’s also going to show you the printed inserts included in each test kit where the manufacturers admit that their test is not guaranteed to establish the presence or absence of HIV antibodies in human blood, let alone HIV itself.

The turbulence is worse, not better, and Sarah gives up trying to read. She doses off again, and wakes up realizing how easily and peacefully she can sleep on an airplane for some reason. Maybe it’s the altitude; I don’t know. The plane is now steady and the seat belt light turned off. She picks up where she left off in the transcript.

    As a result of the very poor performance of these ELISA and Western Blot HIV Antibody tests, there are other tests being run today that are supposed to find HIV. They are called viral load tests. I don’t want to go into detail now, because you’ll hear a lot of testimony about these viral load tests during the trial, particularly from the man who won the Nobel Prize for inventing the most commonly used viral load test procedure. He’s going to tell you that his test can not be used to measure the viral load of HIV, and why.

    You might be interested to know that very few laboratories will run a viral load test on you unless you have tested HIV-Antibody-Positive on an ELISA or a Western Blot first. In fact, the FDA has never approved a viral load test to be run on anyone who has not previously tested Positive on an ELISA and a Western Blot. Why? Because too many people who were HIV-Negative were having high viral load test results. In other words, the viral load test was finding HIV in people who were not supposed to have HIV at all. That can be very embarrassing for the AIDS experts, because it shows just how inaccurate these tests can be.

As she was reading, Sarah had highlighted “very few laboratories will run the viral load test on you unless you have tested HIV-Antibody-Positive on an ELISA or a Western Blot first.” Her note says: “Ask Gwen to make an appointment for me to take a viral load test.”

    There is one other test being used today by the AIDS Industry I will mention very briefly. It’s called a CD4 cell count, and it’s supposed to measure the strength of a person’s immune system. AIDS, of course, is Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, and if someone has tested HIV-Antibody-Positive and has a low CD4 cell count, they are being diagnosed with AIDS – even if they have no symptoms of any disease at all. Today, more than half of the people being diagnosed with AIDS in the United States fall into this category – HIV-Positive, not sick, but have a low CD4 cell count.

    But Canada, for one, doesn’t recognize this definition of AIDS, by the way. Don’t you find it a little strange that a disease can change its definition simply by crossing an arbitrary line drawn on a map? For someone in the United States to be cured of AIDS, if they were diagnosed because they were HIV-Antibody-Positive and had a low CD4 cell count, all they have to do is move to Canada and they no longer have AIDS. They’re cured! Amazing, isn’t it?

    ARMAND: Objection. Relevance.

    JUDGE: Counselor?

    CAMPBELL: Well, Your Honor, I don’t know that this little tidbit is directly relevant to this case, other than it points up the absurdity of some of the theories about HIV and AIDS. But I find it interesting and peculiar myself.

    JUDGE: Then drop it, Mr. Campbell.

    CAMPBELL: Very well, Your Honor. As I said when I started, all of this may go against everything you thought you knew about HIV and AIDS, against everything you’ve heard and everything you’ve been told up until now. But when you look at the scientific evidence itself, which we will present to you, you find out that the truth is actually far different from what you’re being told. And your job, ladies and gentlemen, is to discern the truth in this case.

    If Mr. Armand cannot prove that the so-called HIV antibody tests that the defendant took were 100% accurate – if there is reasonable doubt in your mind when you’ve heard all the evidence and seen all the scientific studies that he is unquestionably HIV-Positive – then you’re going to have to conclude that he could not have murdered Beth Ann Brooks, because being HIV-Positive is the weapon the Solicitor says he used. And if they can’t prove he had that weapon, then he could not have committed this crime.

Sarah must have slept longer than she thought when she dozed off, because the flight attendant is announcing their descent into the Houston airport. There are not many pages left to read, so she decides to try to finish before they land.

    So much for the defendant. Let’s talk for a minute about the victim, Beth Ann Brooks.

    First of all, remember that everything I have said about Mr. Johnson’s so-called HIV test results applies to hers as well. You will learn that there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support an HIV-Positive diagnosis for Beth Ann Brooks either.

    But there’s a more critical flaw in the Solicitor’s case, and that is that Mr. Armand claims the defendant infected Beth Ann Brooks with HIV. He simply cannot prove that. In order to prove that, he would have to prove that Ms. Brooks was HIV-Negative prior to having sex with Mr. Johnson. You can’t say that Mr. Johnson infected her unless you can show that she was not infected before having sex with the defendant.

    But you will learn that Beth Ann Brooks had never taken an HIV test before she had sex with Mr. Johnson. She only did so at the request of her father, Dr. Marcus Brooks, after she started dating my client. So there is no proof that she was HIV-Negative before then, and therefore no proof that she became HIV-Positive only after having sex with Mr. Johnson.

    And there’s another problem with the theory that Mr. Johnson infected Beth Ann Brooks by having sex with her. You will hear testimony about the largest and longest scientific study of its kind, published in 1997, which essentially proves that HIV is not transmitted through heterosexual intercourse. If that’s true, and there is no other evidence to say that it’s not, how was Beth Ann Brooks infected with HIV by making love with the defendant?

    Again, I realize that this flies in the face of what you’ve heard about heterosexuals being infected through sex. But the fact is that it’s simply not true, and we’ll prove that to you.

    So what did Beth Ann Brooks die from? It’s a good question, and one that goes to the heart of this murder trial. Rather than dying from AIDS as a result of an HIV infection, we will prove to you that Beth Ann Brooks died from the drugs she was prescribed to take for her HIV. Unfortunately, when someone is diagnosed HIV-Positive today, they are put under extreme pressure to take very toxic and often lethal drugs called Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART).

    The problem is that even the AIDS ‘experts’ admits that somewhere around 8,000 people are dying every year from the side effects of these drugs – from organ failure, in particular. And we will present the scientific studies which prove this.

    You will also hear from the Greenville County Coroner that Ms. Brooks died from liver failure. But liver failure is not a symptom of AIDS. It is a side effect of the AIDS drugs she was taking. The bottom line is that Beth Ann Brooks is listed as having died of AIDS solely because she was deemed to be HIV-Positive, and not from the actual cause of her death – in the same way that someone who dies in a car accident is listed as an AIDS death if they happen to be HIV-Positive. I can see that you’re shocked at that, but it’s true.

    Ladies and gentlemen, the evidence will show that Beth Ann Brooks died, tragically, because she followed her doctor’s orders and took drugs that were supposed to fight her HIV infection, and not because the defendant made love with her. If anyone should be charged with murder in this case, it’s the doctors and pharmaceutical companies who intimidate people into taking these highly toxic drugs as soon as they are diagnosed HIV-Positive.

    ARMAND: Objection!

    CAMPBELL: I’ll withdraw that last comment. And I have only one last thing. You might hear the Solicitor’s witnesses saying many of the same things you’ve heard on television for years about HIV and AIDS. You’ll also hear me, in cross examination, challenge them to produce the scientific evidence for what they are saying, as I will be doing throughout this case; because we’re not here to listen to speculation, or theory, or well-worn media sound bites. For years these people have uttered words that have no basis in fact, and in this trial I’m going to make them put up or shut up. And if they can’t produce the scientific studies to support their claims, I hope you will take what they say with a grain of salt.

    A man’s life is in your hands, and I’m sure you want to make a decision about that life based on actual evidence and not on rumor.

    Thank you.

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