Ivins' former lawyers, according to ABC anchor Charles Gibson, characterized the FBI's case against the suicidal scientist as "heaps of innuendo" with evidence "contorted to create the illusion of guilt." So how did the networks' three justice correspondents--ABC's Pierre Thomas (no link), CBS' Bob Orr, NBC's Pete Williams--treat the FBI's case? All three zeroed in on two pieces of evidence: Ivins was in control of a flask of anthrax spores whose DNA was genetically identical to the spores in the mail; and he logged unusual extra hours in his laboratory in the days before the letters were mailed. Orr and Williams both pointed out that the FBI case was only circumstantial--although Orr called it a "strong circumstantial case." Orr, who spoke ill of the dead Ivins on Monday, appears to harbor an especial animus. He saw Ivins being portrayed as a "delusional sociopath" yet left that insult hanging without elaboration.
There certainly was innuendo in the feds' case, too. All three reporters recounted an e-mail Ivins sent to a friend in the days after the attacks of September 11th, 2001, characterizing Osama bin Laden as an anti-Semitic mass murderer. Please! If such sentiments qualified as evidence in a murder case, Ivins would have plenty of company on the FBI's list of suspects.
Jan Crawford Greenburg, ABC's legal correspondent, was the reporter who ventured what Ivins might have said in his own defense had this evidence come to trial. She pointed out that the admissibility of the FBI's vaunted genetic test of the anthrax DNA--her colleague Thomas called that the "lynchpin" of the feds' case--had never before been accepted in a court of law. The defense could "just poke holes all through this case."
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