According to Science magazine writer Jon Cohen in an article entitled "Controversial CFS Researcher Arrested and Jailed", Dr. Mikovits was arrested on "felony charges that she is a fugitive from justice."
Dr. Mikovits was the research director at the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Diseases in Reno, Nevada until she was fired on September 29, 2011. Upon being fired she returned to her home in southern California where her husband was staying. On November 4, the WPI filed suit against Dr. Mikovits, claiming she had kept lab notebooks and other information in her laptop, flash drives, and in her personal e-mail account. A preliminary injunction on this matter was to be held in Nevada's Second District Judicial Court on November 22, 2011.
Lois Hart, an attorney for Dr. Mikovits denies that her client has any notebooks or other proprietary items. Age of Autism must note the unusual circumstances which would cause the WPI to arrest Dr. Mikovits when a hearing on the preliminary injunction had already been set. After her arrest on Friday, November 18, Dr. Mikovits was not allowed to post bail and has spent the weekend in jail. A hearing for Dr. Mikovits in Ventura, California will take place on Tuesday, November 22 at the Ventura County Government Center, Hall of Justice, Room 13 at 1:30. She remains in jail at the time of this writing.
The hearing in California will prevent Dr. Mikovits from attending the hearing in Nevada.
Another curious aspect to this case is that Dr. Mikovits was supposed to speak at a panel discussion the weekend of November 19-20 on chronic fatigue syndrome/ME at Mt. Sinai Hospital where a chronic fatigue/ME center had recently been established under the guidance of Dr. Derek Enlander. It had also been rumored that Dr. Mikovits might end up collaborating with Dr. Enlander.
Dr. Mikovits was unable to attend this conference in New York because she was in a jail cell in California. Is anybody else seeing a pattern?
According to reports circulating in the chronic fatigue syndrome/ME community, Dr. Mikovits was fired after work on September 29, 2011 by a call to her cell-phone while she was outside her condo in Reno. When Dr. Mikovits returned to her home in southern California she spoke with Lilly Meehan, a CFS/ME advocate. At some time near the arrest of Dr. Mikovits, nine policeman appeared at the home of Lilly Meehan in California, and executed a search of her home. Nothing was found.
Many in the autism community have become familiar with Dr. Mikovits and her belief that autism may share many similarities with chronic fatigue syndrome/ME and that both may turn out to be neuro-immune diseases. It must be noted that the majority of the autism community is still undecided about the likelihood of such a link, although they eagerly await further evidence.
But the autism community stands united with the chronic fatigue syndrome/ME community in support of scientific freedom and the protection of research scientists from witch hunts and criminal persecution. While it is clear that all of us in the autism and chronic fatigue syndrome/ME community await the truth of the allegations against Dr. Mikovits, there is a way in which these matters are to be resolved.
The normal manner of resolving such disputes has not been followed in this case. Senior scientists do not rank the risk of incarceration on the list of fears which attend losing a position, especially prior to any charges being proven in a court of law.
The jailing of Dr. Mikovits without bail for at least five days prior to any legal proceedings raises suspicions of what is ultimately at stake in this case.
We urge anybody in the southern California area to attend the hearing for Dr. Mikovits which takes place on Tuesday, November 22 at 1:30 p.m. at the Ventura County Government Center, Hall of Justice, 800 S. Victoria Avenue, Room 13, Ventura, California 93309.
Update from Lilly Meehan: