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Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Lawyer Baron Coleman and His Court Jesters


Clayton County jury returns Tuesday to deliberate HIV case


By Kathy Jefcoats
kjefcoats@news-daily.com


JONESBORO — Prosecutors said Friday it’s “absurd” to believe a woman would knowingly have sex with a man who is HIV-positive but defense attorneys called the woman a liar.
“(She) lied,” said defense attorney John Turner. “She said they knew mutual acquaintances and that he pressure-washed her car. That’s a lie. If she lied about that, she could have lied about everything else.”
Turner represents Craig Lamar Davis, 43, charged with two counts of reckless conduct by an HIV-infected person. He was married and led the men’s ministry at an Atlanta church, leading some to refer to him as a pastor. Prosecutors allege Davis had unprotected physical relations with a woman at his Jonesboro home without disclosing he is HIV-positive.
Davis is also charged in Fulton County with the same charges involving a second woman. That woman testified in the state’s case and the jury is allowed to consider her account as they deliberate Davis’ fate.
Turner and co-counsel Baron Coleman of Alabama, and prosecutors Erman Tanjuatco, Katie Powers and Marcus Thorpe completed their cases by Friday and closing arguments began at 1:15 p.m. Neither woman is being identified by Clayton News Daily because they are considered victims of alleged sexual assaults.
The jury got the case after 5 p.m. Friday but returned to Judge Geronda Carter’s courtroom an hour later to say they wanted to stop deliberations and resume them Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. Court is dark Monday because of the King holiday.
Before the short deliberation, jurors heard one last time from the attorneys. Because the burden is on the state to prove the charges, Tanjuatco and Powers spoke first and last with Turner and Coleman addressing the panel in between the two.
“The defense is absurd,” said Powers, who went first. “It’s smoke and mirrors.”
Powers said the case comes down to a battle of the experts. The state presented Davis’ treating physicians, infectious disease expert Joyce Drayton of Decatur, and Courtney Shelton. Both doctors told Davis he was HIV-positive in 2004 and 2005 and prescribed HIV medications for him.
Drayton testified that Davis had full-blown AIDS in 2005 when he presented at Atlanta Medical Center with thrush and pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, known as PCP, an infection commonly found in patients with AIDS.
Drayton also testified that she counseled Davis on taking care of himself and preventing the spread of the virus to others. In fact, Davis brought another woman he had infected to Drayton’s office for treatment, the doctor testified.
Turner and Coleman brought in three experts, all considered “AIDS denialists” associated with Office of Medical and Scientific Justice. The group believes the HIV and AIDS viruses don’t exist and works to exonerate defendants accused of criminally exposing others to HIV. All three underwent a scathing cross-examination by Powers, who got them to admit they never examined or interviewed Davis and reached their conclusions based on incomplete documents provided by the defense attorneys.
One of the experts, Dr. Nancy Turner Banks, admitted she thinks AIDS is an “imaginary monster” that can be defeated if patients are emotionally balanced and drink water and eat cilantro. Banks also testified that HIV is not sexually-transmitted, a position backed by David Rasnick, who took the stand after Banks.

The defense position is opposite of what Western medicine has believed since AIDS was first written about by U.S. Centers for Disease Control in 1981. Although it was first considered a “gay man’s cancer,” the following year, the virus was detected in infants and in 1983, it was discovered in heterosexual women.
The methods of transmission were also identified by 1983 and has been known since then to include the exchange of bodily fluids.
Advances in medicine contributed to the development of drugs that help patients with HIV stave off full-blown AIDS and to live longer lives with the virus. Doctors have even developed a pre-exposure prophylaxis medication for people who are at high risk of getting HIV that is proven up to 90 percent effective, according to CDC.
In Turner’s argument, he told jurors that getting an HIV-positive diagnosis these days is akin to having diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. However, he also suggested that Davis simply lied about having it to get a better diet while in Clayton County Jail in 2009. Testimony showed when he was locked up, Davis told officials he was HIV-positive and requested proper medications and a high protein, high calorie diet to include a Carnation breakfast drink to boost his appetite.
“If you’ve been to jail, you know you want to get as much food as possible,” said Turner. “There is nothing crappier than jail food.”
Turner spent the night in Clayton County Jail in 2011 when he was arrested for having a weapon in his carry-on bag at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, a misdemeanor. He said at the time it was an “eye-opening experience.”
Davis has lived his life as a person with HIV, said Powers, taking medications and maintaining the proper diet to stay healthy. However, he has been reckless in his personal life.
“The only person he takes responsibility for is himself and no one else,” she said.
Apparently, it was only after being criminally charged with spreading the virus that Davis began questioning his diagnosis, said Powers. She wondered that, if he thought he was misdiagnosed, why hasn’t he filed a malpractice suit against Shelton, Drayton and Atlanta Medical Center?
“If it was a medical misdiagnosis, there’s some deep pockets,” she said. “Where’s the lawsuit? Why continue the medication? You’re still taking the meds. It’s because you know you are still HIV-positive.”
Coleman countered that Davis didn’t sue because the doctors followed the protocol that exists for an HIV diagnosis. He also admitted Davis made mistakes.
“The tests are the presumptions we have,” he said. “It would be foolish to said Craig didn’t make some mistakes along the way.”
Another defense presented involved “crack lung,” an acute pulmonary syndrome. Davis admitted on the stand Thursday that he used to smoke crack and that chest pain sent him to Atlanta Medical Center in 2005. Defense experts argued that the same symptoms can mimic that of PCP and lead to a false AIDS diagnosis.
Turner also focused on Davis’ assertion that he told the women he was HIV-positive. Davis denied having intimate relations with the woman in the Clayton County case but admitted to the relationship with the woman in the Fulton County case. Davis testified that she continued to be intimate with him despite the diagnosis.
The woman testified they had sex seven days a week for a year before she was diagnosed HIV-positive in January 2012. She said she was devastated and suicidal and called Davis from the doctor’s office. Tanjuatco said that is proof Davis lied.
“His story is not plausible,” said Tanjuatco. “Why would she be surprised to learn she had HIV when she knew he was positive? It makes no sense.”
The Clayton County alleged victim never tested positive, according to testimony. Turner argued that’s because she and Davis never had intimate contact. However, she testified to having four encounters with Davis during May 2012. At the end of May, she said Davis told her to get an HIV test because he just learned a woman he’d been involved with during the Fall of 2011 had just been diagnosed. Davis said she “went off.” Prosecutors said she was justified in her rage and anger.
Tanguatco questioned whether she was upset because of a lack of intimacy, or “because that player there didn’t tell her he was HIV?”
The case has drawn worldwide attention. A Spanish film crew has taped every day of the trial for a documentary.

3 comments:

  1. Georgians Hang Head in shame!January 18, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    It is unbelievable that Atlanta, the home of the CDC and major Universities, is allowing this clown act to come to town! Baker has been debunked over and over. Did the news reporters fail to do a simple google search on this clown? Why would the AJC listen to this homophobic right wing blogger?

    Where is James Curran? Where are Atlanta's Titans of science? Can no one drop a dime and tell the newspaper and prosecutor that this sham of shams will leave Atlanta justice in the toilet?

    Baker doesn't care that his clients die like flies. He doesn't care that women are being victimized here. Baker has no humanity.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Baker's affidavits in three cases are demonstrably false. The judge in the New York case singled Baker out as unreliable. The claims by the OMSJ "experts" are demonstrably false, and known to be false by these "experts."

    These persons are not just testifying about their beliefs. They are testifying about scientific facts. The real facts are extremely well known. When OMSJ testifies that AIDS is not an STD, they are knowingly perjuring.

    The only way to stop this clown show is to have OMSJ and their group charged with perjury. How are these clowns qualifying under Daubert? How do they get reporters to listen to them?

    The AJC needs to run these clowns out on a rail.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Baker is the clown of all clowns. When he looks like a fool and is laughed out of court when this verdict comes out he will do one of 2 things: (1) claim some sort of "conspiracy" or less likely but still possible (2) ignore this like it never happened.

    Clarkie is one of the most pathetic tools on the planet, obviously compensating for his incredibly low station in life.

    ReplyDelete