Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to President Biden, until his retirement, has been shown by attorneys to be “not credible” in federal court.
In a legal briefing entitled “Exhibit 1” submitted this week, the lawyers submitted “Proposed Facts” in the case, which establish a track record of suspect and arguably deceitful behavior on the part of Dr. Fauci.
The exhibit encompasses over 300 pages of documented behavior on the part of Dr. Fauci that the attorneys deemed “not credible.” The legal rejoinder is an examination of sworn testimony given in late 2022 in the case Louisiana, Missouri, et al. v. Biden.
In that sworn testimony, Dr. Fauci said that “I don’t recall” or “I do not recall” 174 times, and testified that he could not recall or remember, using variations on that phrase, 212 times.
The new legal exhibit establishes that Dr. Anthony Fauci’s responses about his knowledge and actions taken in regards to the “lab leak theory” of SARS-CoV-2 are not credible. Fauci misrepresented his correspondence with key authors of the “Proximal Origins” paper, which dismissed the lab leak theory and supported the natural origins theory, as well as his relationships with scientific and medical experts, such as Dr. Peter Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance, Dr. Shi Zhengli (aka “the Bat Woman”) and Dr. Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina.
Furthermore, the legal record shows that Dr. Anthony Fauci likely misled Congress, due to his usage of “gain of function” research in regards to the mandated “Pause” in such research. In addition, Fauci attempted to suppress the “lab leak theory” and misled investigators about the actions he took to supress the theory. This included keeping Dr. Robert Redfield, former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, out of the loop when it came to discussing the lab leak theory with researchers, due ostensibly to Redfield’s views on the working hypothesis.
“First, in early months of 2020, Dr. Fauci worked closely with Dr. Francis Collins and Jeremy Farrar to orchestrate a campaign to discredit and suppress the opinion that SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, leaked from a laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology— an opinion that has recently been confirmed as likely true,” the legal exhibit states. “Early in the pandemic, Dr. Fauci was aware that NIAID, under his direction, had funded dangerous gain-of-function research on coronaviruses at that laboratory, and he sought to discredit and suppress the lab-leak theory to deflect the scandal and blame associated with potential responsibility for the deaths of millions in the ensuing pandemic. He engaged in a campaign of deception to discredit the theory, and as a result of his efforts, the lab-leak theory was heavily censored on social media.”
“On December 30, 2011, Dr. Fauci co-authored an op-ed with Dr. Francis S. Collins in the Washington Post entitled A Flu Virus Risk Worth Taking. In this op-ed, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins advocated for creating potentially dangerous viruses in laboratories, writing that ‘important information and insights can come from generating a potentially dangerous virus in a laboratory.’ According to Fauci and Collins, ‘[u]nderstanding the biology of … virus transmission has implications for outbreak prediction, prevention and treatment,’ and ‘[i]dentifying threatening viruses can also facilitate the early stages of manufacturing vaccines that protect against such a virus in advance of an outbreak.’ They further argued that ‘identifying the molecular Achilles heel of these viruses can allow scientists to identify novel antiviral drug targets that could be used to prevent infection … or better treat those who become infected’.”
“Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins acknowledged the significant risks associated with such research, writing that ‘[s]afeguarding against the potential accidental release or deliberate misuse of laboratory pathogens is imperative.’ But they believed that those risks were contained, writing that “engineered viruses … are maintained in high-security laboratories.’ They further state that ‘scientists, journal editors, and funding agencies involved are working together to ensure that access to specific information that could be used to create dangerous pathogens is limited to those with an established and legitimate need to know’.”
It should be noted at this point that the House’s Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic held a hearing on Wednesday that showed that the Wuhan Institute of Virology had substandard security protocols according to Fauci’s and Collins’ alleged standards.
“We have learned that the Wuhan Institute has poor biosafety and was conducting this research at only biosafety level two, described as ‘the Wild West’ by Dr. Jeremy Farrar, a virologist from the UK, now chief scientist for the WHO,” the Subcommittee Chair Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) noted.
Nonetheless, long before the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins were highly visible, public advocates for laboratory experiments that involve “generating a potentially
dangerous virus in a laboratory,” the legal exhibit remarked.
Such research of “generating a potentially dangerous virus in a laboratory” is commonly called “gain-of-function” research, the exhibit adds. Dr. Fauci testified that “[g]ain of function is a very
potentially misleading terminology, and that was one of the reasons why several years ago outside groups, not the NIH … did away with the terminology ‘gain of function’ because it can often be very confusing and misleading.” Yet Dr. Fauci confirms that “the NIH” did not “d[o] away” with that terminology, and Dr. Fauci’s own internal email uses the phrase “SARS Gain of Function” to describe the research on bat coronaviruses that was conducted by Dr. Shi Zhengli and others at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, partly funded by Dr. Fauci’s NIAID through the subgrants from the EcoHealth Alliance, the attorneys continued.
The legal briefing then turns to Fauci funding such risky gain of function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“On June 1, 2014, Dr. Fauci’s NIAID funded a grant to the EcoHealth Alliance for the five-year period June 1, 2014, to May 31, 2019. Fauci Ex. 2, at 2. The title of the project was ‘Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence.’ The project’s Abstract stated: “This project will examine the risk of future coronavirus (CoV) emergence from wildlife using indepth field investigations across the human-wildlife interface in China, molecular characterization of novel CoVs and host receptor binding domain genes, mathematical models of transmission and evolution, and in vitro and in vivo laboratory studies of host range.”
The Abstract noted that one of the project’s “three specific aims” would be to “[t]est predictions of CoV inter-species transmission” by engaging in two forms of research to enhance the bat coronaviruses’ transmissibility to humans: “reverse genetics,” i.e., genetic manipulation of the viruses to render them more transmissible; and “virus infection experiments” using “humanized mice,” i.e., repeatedly infecting humanized mice with bat coronaviruses to provoke mutations that render them more infectious to human cells (a process known as “serial passage”). Specifically, the Abstract stated: “Predictive models of host range (i.e.[,] emergence potential) will be tested experimentally using reverse genetics, pseudovirus and receptor binding assays, and virus infection experiments across a range of cell cultures from different species and humanized mice.”
Dr. Fauci endeavored to argue that “reverse genetics” is so vague it might not refer to gain-of-function research, the attorneys noted. (“I’m not really quite sure what they’re
referring to. Reverse genetics can mean many things.”). But Dr. Fauci admits that “reverse genetics” means “[m]anipulation of a virus, recombination, things like that.” In 2015, in an article reporting on research performed pursuant to this grant, Dr. Ralph Baric and Dr. Shi Zhengli wrote that they used “reverse genetics” to “generate and characterize a chimeric virus” that was more infectious and more virulent in humans. Dr. Fauci’s own internal email describes that article as addressing “SARS Gain of Function,” the lawyers added.
The lawyers then submit that Dr. Fauci claimed that he had never seen this grant award before his deposition, and that he was only “vaguely” aware of NIAID’s funding of EcoHealth Alliance. (see: “I’m vaguely familiar with the fact that EcoHealth Alliance has been doing research on trying to understand the bat coronavirus emergence” and “I have no recollection of the initiation of this grant.”)
Dr. Fauci admits that “NIAID has funded EcoHealth Alliance,” but he claimed that he was completely unfamiliar with this project. (“[T]his is the first time that I have seen this piece of paper.”). But Dr. Fauci flagged this grant in an email from his subordinate on January 27, 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, the lawyers point out.
“Given the public and Congressional scrutiny of this particular project and its relation to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Fauci’s testimony on these points is not credible,” the lawyers state.
And to further exacerbate matters, Dr. Fauci claimed that he was not acquainted with Peter Daszak nor does not know how to pronounce Daszak’s name (“I’m not sure”), and that he “do[es]n’t even
remember meeting him,” but that he “has seen a photo of himself with Daszak at a public event as the only evidence that they have met,” the lawyers note.
“In fact, Dr. Fauci has exchanged cordial emails with Daszak on a first-name basis, and he participated in a podcast with him on February 9, 2020, in which they both sought to discredit the lab-leak theory of COVID’s origins,” the exhibit continued.
“Dr. Fauci’s attempt to deny or downplay his acquaintance and familiarity with Daszak is not credible,” the lawyers submitted. “Dr. Fauci states that he does not recall whether NIAID ever authorized continued funding for Peter Daszak or EcoHealth Alliance pursuant to the exception to the Pause,” they further remarked.
The lawyers then turn to a 2015 Nature Medicine article written by Dr. Ralph Baric and Fauci’s comments on the research.
“The 2015 Nature Medicine article clearly described gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses. The Abstract states: “Here we examine the disease potential of a SARS-like virus, SHC014-CoV, which is currently circulating in Chinese horseshoe bat populations. Using the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system, we generated and characterized a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone.” Notably, the article uses the same phrase as the EcoHealth grant, “reverse genetics,” to describe creating “a chimeric virus,” the lawyers note.
Dr. Fauci testified in his deposition that he first became aware of this Nature Medicine article “likely … several months” after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that “it was brought to my attention in the context of questions that were raised by members of Congress about experiments that were funded by the NIAID.”
“In fact, Dr. Fauci attached this article to a confidential midnight email to his principal deputy, Hugh Auchincloss, on January 31, 2020, and directed Auchincloss to read it immediately and take unspecified actions on it on a Saturday morning,” the lawyers remarked.
“Dr. Fauci’s testimony on this point is not credible,” the attorneys added.
Dr. Fauci testified that he does not believe he has ever met Dr. Ralph Baric, the corresponding author of the 2015 Nature Medicine article. (“I know who he is, I doubt I’ve ever met him. I may have met him at one of the meetings where there are thousands of scientists saying hi to each other…”). In fact, Dr. Fauci’s official calendar “shows a one-on-one meeting with Dr. Ralph Baric on February 11, 2020, during the events described herein,” the exhibit states.
A contemporaneous Slack message on February 18, 2020 reports that Dr. Baric “sat in Fauci’s office talking about the outbreak and chimeras,” i.e., lab-created chimeric viruses, the exhibit added. And Dr. Fauci testified that Dr. Baric may be the source of the phrase “SARS Gain of Function” in the attachment to his midnight email to Hugh Auchincloss.
“Dr. Fauci’s testimony on this point is not credible,” the lawyers submitted.
Dr. Fauci professed to be ignorant of the identity of Dr. Shi Zhengli, the notorious “Bat Woman” of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the lawyers continued. When asked if he knows who she is, Fauci stated, “I’m not a hundred percent certain. I get sometimes confused with Asian names.” Yet Dr. Shi Zhengli, the so-called “bat woman,” is a world-renowned researcher “who may have caused the COVID-19 pandemic,” and has been so since the beginning of the pandemic, and the name “Shi” is included in the title of the article that Dr. Fauci “forwarded to Dr. Hugh Auchincloss after midnight on February 1, 2020.”
“Dr. Fauci’s testimony is not credible on this point,” the lawyers submitted.
Dr. Fauci testified that he first became aware of the outbreak of COVID-19 either December 31, 2019 or “the first couple days of 2022.” Dr. Fauci recounts that he first became aware of concerns that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 “might have been genetically engineered or originated in a laboratory” when “[t]here was a phone call in late January of 2020, I believe, from Jeremy Farrar. There was one other person on the phone. I believe it was [K]ristian [Andersen], who piped me in on a three-way call, saying that they looked at the virus and there was some concern about the molecular configuration or makeup of the virus that made them think there was a possibility that there could have been a manipulation of the virus.”
In the legal exhibit, it raises a point that would resurface at the House’s Covid response hearings on Wednesday.
“Dr. Fauci states that he does not believe that anyone ever raised the concern to him before that late January call, and he specifically attests that he does not recall Dr. Robert Redfield, then-Director of the CDC, raising the concern to him in mid-January 2020. Dr. Fauci’s recollection conflicts with that of Dr. Redfield, who specifically recalls raising this issue to Dr. Fauci earlier in January 2020, and having his concerns fall on deaf ears: “Dr. Robert Redfield, a virologist and the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), had urged Fauci privately to vigorously investigate both the lab and natural hypotheses. He was then excluded from the ensuing discussions—learning only later that they’d even occurred. ‘Their goal was to have a single narrative,’ Redfield [said].”
Dr. Redfield ripped Dr. Fauci for cutting him out of the discussions and accused him of pushing a predetermined narrative on Covid’s origins.
Rep. Malliotakis: “Do you think that “Proximal Origins” hides the truth?”
Dr. Robert Redfield: “I think it’s an inaccurate paper that basically was part of a narrative that they were creating.” pic.twitter.com/Oom8qLezZz
— Becker News (@NewsBecker) March 8, 2023
“In mid-January of 2020, … Redfield expressed his concerns in separate phone conversations with three scientific leaders: Fauci; Jeremy Farrar, the director of the U.K.’s Wellcome Trust; and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO),” the legal brief went on. Redfield’s message, he says, was simple: ‘We had to take the lab-leak hypothesis with extreme seriousness.’” Dr. Fauci disputes this account and states that this conversation did not happen: “To my recollection, no.”
This leads to a critical point on Fauci’s purported reaction to learning about the SARS-CoV-2 virus surfacing in Wuhan, China. Dr. Fauci admits in his deposition that he wanted his assistant Auchincloss to find out what coronavirus research NIAID was funding in China before his call with scientists about the lab-leak concerns.
“And at my recollection, I brought to Hugh’s attention, saying, ‘We have to speak in the morning, because I want to find out what the scope of what it is that we are funding so I’ll know what we’re talking about.’” Fauci Dep. In particular, Dr. Fauci wanted to find out what EcoHealth Alliance was doing: “this was the first that I had heard about specifics of what EcoHealth and what other people were doing, and I wanted my staff to say get me up to date. So that’s what I meant by you have work to do.”
Regarding the “tasks that must be done,” Dr. Fauci admits that “I wanted to be briefed on the scope of what our collaborations were and the kind of work that we were funding in China. I wanted to know what the nature of that work was.”
The lawyers argue that the tone of the email and Dr. Fauci’s own testimony “strongly support the inference that Dr. Fauci sent the email to Auchincloss because he was concerned that NIAID, under his leadership, was funding research in China that might have led to the creation and leak of SARS-CoV-2, and he wanted to know the full extent of NIAID’s exposure before his call later that day with scientists and funding authorities.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci’s efforts to avoid accountability for the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as his track record of misleading the public and investigators, is firmly demonstrated by the legal exhibit. It is a strong compendium to the House’s Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic hearings that have further established that the former top civil servant and face of the nation’s Covid response is “not credible.”
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.