It looks like Clark Baker and his AIDS Denialist crew of medical mischief and pseudoscientific scams have come to rescue Nushawn Williams, who now claims that he is not HIV infected. Williams may have tested HIV positive, but the tests were, of course, invalid.
New tests ordered by the defense, with what appears to be consultation from Clark Baker, uses an AIDS denialist favorite scheme -- electron micrographs.
For an AIDS Denialist, the only proof that HIV exists would be an image of the ‘pure virus’. AIDS Deniers refute science that relies on combinations of antibody/antigen/PCR testing to diagnose HIV. They also, by the way, refute images of HIV because they are not ‘pure virus’.
While in prison, Williams had been receiving treatment for his HIV infection. Successful treatment leads to viral suppression, making it very hard to get an image of the virus.
This is the new tactic of AIDS Deniers Clark Baker and David Rasnick. They have been using services of The Core Electron Microscopy Facility at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. A cell biologist named Gregory Hendricks has been running these tests in cases that employ Baker and Rasnick.
There is no reason to believe that Gregory Hendricks is an AIDS Denialist. I doubt that he is aware that he his providing pseudoscientists like David Rasnick with material for testimony in legal cases. Aware or not, that is what is happening. Dr. Hendricks and U-Mass Medical School probably want nothing to do with these clowns. Talk about a credibility liability. Hopefully they will figure this out.
AIDS Denialists are masters of confusion. Doubt is the one thing that they seem good at generating. That is why they have found a place in the courts.
Below are the news stories…
In court, lawyer says Nushawn Williams ‘doesn’t have HIV’ Man is said to have infected 13 women
By Gene Warner Jay Tokasz
Throughout Western New York, Nushawn Williams has been known for 16 years as a sexual predator who infected young women with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
But Williams, 36, appeared in State Supreme Court in Erie County on Tuesday to argue that he never had the virus.
His attorney, John R. Nuchereno, dropped the bombshell revelation Tuesday morning in a hearing before Justice John L. Michalski.
“He doesn’t have HIV,” Nuchereno said. “Now, it doesn’t just go away, and it leads me to believe the victim in this case is right here. His liberty has been denied for 16 years.”
Nuchereno had a sample of Williams’ blood sent to the Core Electron Microscopy Facility at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where an analysis showed no HIV, according to a report by Gregory Hendricks, a cell biologist and the facility manager.
In February 1999, Williams pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree (statutory) rape and one count of reckless endangerment for his Chautauqua County crimes. Authorities have said he infected at least 13 young Chautauqua County women, including one 13-year-old, with the virus that leads to AIDS.
After his plea, Williams, in an interview with a New York City television station, said he had slept with 200 to 300 young women before he was put behind bars.
Williams’ 12-year prison term ended in April 2010, but he continues to be held in Wende State Correctional Facility under a state law that permits civil confinement of sex offenders. A trial had been scheduled for this summer in Chautauqua County to decide whether the state can prolong his confinement.
When his story broke in 1996, Nushawn Williams made headlines around the world. He was widely portrayed as a pariah, and Chautauqua County was thrust into the spotlight as an unlikely hotbed of sordid sexual activity and drug use among teens.
Tuesday’s hearing brought the furor back to the forefront.
Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph A. Gerace had trouble making sense of Williams’ new claim in court.
“I think it’s a desperate effort to try to get him released from custody,” said Gerace, who has been sheriff since 1995. “I don’t recall any claim that he wasn’t HIV-positive. In fact, it was shown in court that he was HIV-positive and continued to have unprotected sex with girls as young as 13. That’s what made it so heinous.”
But Nuchereno said Williams wasn’t made aware of the HIV test results until shortly before he was arrested and after the public was warned about him.
“He wasn’t told. That’s always been a major contention. It was never litigated,” Nuchereno said.
Williams now goes by the name Shyteek Johnson, largely to shield himself from notoriety in prison, Nuchereno said.
“His name’s been slandered across the country. He has been a target in the Department of Corrections. He’s notorious,” Nuchereno said after Tuesday’s hearing.
Handcuffed and wearing green prison garments, Williams listened intently to the court deliberations.
Lawyers for the State Attorney General’s Office questioned whether the blood sample was properly handled and whether the electron microscopy is a scientifically valid method for detecting HIV.
“It’s sort of a Pandora’s box at this point, this test,” said Joseph Muia Jr., an assistant attorney general. “The information we have is that the electron microscope testing is not the gold standard, so to speak, of testing in this area.”
Muia also suggested that with proper treatment, HIV-infected people can have their “viral loads” reduced to the point that the virus becomes undetectable.
“That may be what we have here,” said Muia, who asked the judge to allow the state to draw Williams’ blood and do more testing.
Assistant Attorney General Wendy R. Whiting reminded the judge that Williams admitted to his crimes, and medical experts are able to link people infected with HIV to a source of the infection.
“Links can be made that, at a minimum, many parties came up HIV-positive,” Whiting said.
Nuchereno tried to cast doubt on those links.
“My concern with the victims is I don’t know if they were even properly tested,” he said. Back in 1996, HIV testing was still relatively new and potentially riddled with error, Nuchereno said. “It was the equivalent of taking a home pregnancy test,” he said.
Williams’ HIV-positive status stuck, even though the test wasn’t confirmed, Nuchereno said.
“Everybody’s just assumed it all along – and, most importantly, he even assumed it,” he said. “He accepted those results. He stated, ‘They must be true because the government told me that.’ ”
Muia said Williams was tested four times a year for HIV in prison, but when pressed by Michalski, the state’s lawyers said they did not have documentation of such testing.
That’s because it did not happen, Nuchereno said.
“They kept telling him, ‘We’re treating you, but we don’t find any evidence of the virus,’ ” he said.
Williams stopped taking HIV medication in preparation for the electron microscopy, Nuchereno said. He has remained off of HIV drugs since discovering the results of the test in April.
Additional Reporting from the Associated Press
Lawyer: NY man at center of HIV scare not positive
BY CAROLYN THOMPSON
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Nushawn Williams, a New York drug dealer imprisoned amid accusations he infected 13 young women with HIV in the 1990s, does not have the virus that causes AIDS, according to his attorney, who said he arranged for a new blood test as part of efforts to get him released from prison.
"The results were that there was no HIV," lawyer John Nuchereno said Thursday, after revealing the findings during a court hearing earlier in the week.
He said Williams, 36, may have been the victim of a false positive when tested 16 years ago.
"Everybody just assumed the results were correct. Everyone just accepted it," he said.
State officials, seeking to keep Williams locked up, have questioned the validity of the new results.
Williams has been in prison since pleading guilty in 1999 to statutory rape and reckless endangerment.
In 1997, before he was charged, authorities in the western New York city of Jamestown took the unusual step of announcing publicly that Williams was HIV positive in an effort to stem further spread of the virus by Williams' partners to others. News that the dreadlocked Bronx native known as "Face" had been found to be the common denominator in numerous HIV cases, including that of a 13-year-old girl, set off a panic in the small city and sent lines for HIV testing out clinic doors.
He told a reporter in 1999 that he'd had sex with 200 to 300 partners.
Williams, who now goes by the name Shyteek Johnson, completed a 12-year prison sentence in April 2010 but has remained in custody as the state seeks to have him committed indefinitely under a civil law that allows extended confinement for sex offenders with mental abnormalities that make them likely to offend again.
Nuchereno argues that Williams, without HIV, is not a danger and should be freed.
"Are you dangerous because at 19 or 20 you liked to have sex?" he asked.
A trial is scheduled for next month.
The state's request to conduct its own HIV test on Williams was denied on Wednesday.
Assistant Attorney General Joseph Muia Jr. questioned whether the April blood sample had been properly handled, as well as the reliability of the test submitted by Nuchereno, which was conducted using an electron microscope at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
"The information we have is that the electron microscope testing is not the gold standard, so to speak, of testing in this field," Muia said during a motions hearing Tuesday in state Supreme Court.
He told the judge that Williams had been tested quarterly while in prison and treated for HIV because of consistently positive findings. But he said he did not have access to the prison medical records to show the court.
State corrections officials said Thursday they could not discuss specific inmates' care but that offenders generally receive services consistent with the standard of care in the community.
Muia also suggested the treatment Williams received in prison had made his HIV undetectable.
Dr. Joseph McGowan, medical director of the Center for Aids Research and Treatment at North Shore University Hospital, told The Associated Press that the accepted protocol for HIV testing involves screening the blood for antibodies and then confirming the results with a second test. An electron microscope would be unreliable, particularly for someone infected a long time, because the number of cells harboring virus genes would be diluted over time and difficult to detect, said McGowan, the New York and New Jersey chairman of the American Academy of HIV Medicine.
"Electron microscopy is not typically a means for confirming or ruling out HIV infection," said Dr. Joseph Cervia, who is also a certified HIV specialist with the American Academy of HIV Medicine and a clinical professor at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.
In its 2010 petition seeking civil confinement, the attorney general's office described Williams as a mentally disturbed, sex-obsessed drug user who was unruly and sometimes violent in prison and would likely infect more women if set free. A psychologist's report said Williams targeted vulnerable young women who were underage and/or drug addicted and "used charm and coercion to secure sexual contact."