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Attorney: Ivins never knew he was ‘the suspect’

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Neal Augenstein
WTOP Radio
Saturday, Aug 9, 2008

As the government pegs the blame for the 2001 deadly attacks on one Army biologist, the attorney for scientist Bruce Ivins says his client never knew he was “the suspect” in the attacks.

“We were never informed or advised that an indictment was imminent of him,” attorney Tom DeGonia tells WTOP. DeGonia’s broadcast interview is Ivins’ lawyers’ first interview since Ivins committed suicide.

Ivins, a Fort Detrick scientist, overdosed on acetaminophen. He died July 29, hours before he was set to meet with the government about the case. Even though Ivins had died, DeGonia and co-counsel Paul Kemp still met with the Justice Department that day. It was then, DeGonia says, the government offered up a reverse proffer — its plans to seek an indictment against Ivins.

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“It had never been made clear to him nor to us that he was ‘the suspect,'” says DeGonia, Ivins’ co-counsel.

But sources familiar with the investigation tell WTOP Ivins told his therapist, Jean Duley, and another person that he knew he was about to be indicted on five counts of capital murder. The anthrax attacks killed five people and sickened 17 others.

Questioning the Government’s Case

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While government scientists working on the anthrax investigation genetically linked the killer anthrax to a flask in Ivins’ lab, one under his control, prosecutors relied on circumstantial evidence to piece their case together.

“They’ve maintained that they are confident they have the correct person. Neither we nor the public have been presented with any hard, direct evidence, of the doctor’s involvement in these killings,” DeGonia says.

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This article was posted: Saturday, August 9, 2008 at 4:14 am

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