This is a short dispatch written to convey the essential facts of what happened on April 1 and 2, in the court case against John Martinez and Lindsey Nagel, parents of Rico Martinez Nagel.
It’s early morning in Brownsdale MN, a very small town near the Iowa border, about two hours from Minneapolis. I am soon to depart for the airport and struggling to compose a coherent narrative of a completely incoherent situation.
I’ll start at the end: No decision was reached by the judge in the two day trial in which Lindsey Nagel and John Martinez were (vaguely) accused of Medical Endangerment; The prosecution (“petitioner”) did many inexplicable things throughout the trial, not least of which was to play 4 videos from YouTube, which has not previously been vetted as evidence. That meant delay: The videos have to be transcribed, the transcripts put before judge and opposing legal teams, and the case reconvened. This is expected to happen at best in 15 days. For now, the parents retain custody and a recommendation was made by a guardian ad litem that they should revisit the situation in 45 days to see if compliance was still consistent. If it were, Skype surveillance may be reduced from twice a day to three times a week.So for now, the situation for John and Lindsey Nagel is the same: They retain physical custody of their 3 month old son Rico, and the state controls his medical decisions, i.e. has medical custody. Still, each day, twice a day they must hold the baby in front of a Skype camera, with a social worker on the other end, which I witnessed; They first hold up each medicine bottle (Rico is on 3 “anti-HIV” medications, Bactrim, and a drug to regulate his disrupted red and white blood cell counts,) then they draw the liquids into the tube attached to Rico’s stomach via gastric intubation (a plastic tube surgically implanted into his stomach,) while the social worker watches.
The two day trial was, to use a word I now wish I had never wasted on any previous situation, “Kafkaesque.” Kafka gave us the concept of an accused who can’t locate his crime. I was in the courthouse for ever moment of testimony, which ranged from crushingly tedious to heartbreaking, and not only could I not grasp what these parents were accused of, but both sides actually testified to this effect. To wit:
* 10-15 minutes after giving birth, having been awake for 45 hours, a battalion of about 12 people, lawyers, social workers, doctors, etc, appeared at the foot of Lindsey’s hospital bed, and made clear that if she did not consent to having Rico tested and treated for “HIV infection” she and John would lose custody to the state.
* After being given about 10 minutes to consider the matter, the parents gave full consent to any and all demands that were being made on them, in order not to lose custody of their son.
* Rico was tested and found (according to the hospital) to be HIV “infected” on “pro-viral DNA” PCR tests. [The chief physician testified that quantitative PCR is the standard to use on infants and “represents” the actual presence of the virus in the infant.] [Which is an admission that HIV antibody tests do not represent the actual virus.] [But neither does PCR, by any means.] [!]
* From that point on [and again, every single witness on both sides supported this] John and Lindsey did not miss a single dose of Rico’s numerous medications, even when one of them was AZT, which almost killed Lindsey when she was a baby. Rico was finally taken off AZT after he became so anemic he ultimately needed a total of four blood transfusions. There was not even a suspicion or allegation that these parents did not take the threat of losing Rico very seriously. They did. They complied to the letter of the “law.” Yet Rico was taken from them, because one social worker had “concerns” that they might not give them meds in the future. (More details will follow in future reports.)
* The county seized the baby from the family home, from Lindsey’s arms, supposedly because Lindsey and John had “missed” two medical appointments to discuss nutrition. Not so. They never “missed” any appointments. Instead, two appointments were properly canceled, one of them re-scheduled, the second one was optional.
*Apparently to punish the parents for daring to go seek a second medical opinion, in another state, and having in advance (and properly) canceled an appointment about nutrition for Rico, (who throughout the trial was referred to by his initials, “RMN”–witnesses were not allowed to use his name) Mower County Child Protective Services seized him in an ambush to the family home, took him off his mother’s breast, and planted a gastric tube in his stomach, through which he now has to be fed 24/7.
One quote from my notepad: Dr. W. Charles Huskins, the physician who oversaw Rico’s medical care:
“He is not supposed to be fed by mouth. He is supposed to be fed by gastroscopy tube only.”
* The various witnesses on the petitioner’s side all testified that although they did not have a shred of evidence that Lindsey or John missed a dose, or in any way did not fully comply with “the law” on Rico’s “medical care,” (which almost killed him) they were nonetheless “concerned” that there could be defiance in the future. So the trial was quite literally a Thought Crime trial, in which the parents stood accused of not wanting to give the medications which all sides agreed they nevertheless gave. And continue to give. On Skype, twice a day.
“You have to understand the culture here,” Steve Nagel said yesterday, after the trial. “These people are bullies. they are medium fish in a small pond. they expect it to go their way. The judge is used to always being elected. There’s nothing here, a car goes by every ten minutes that’s what’s happening here. “
The trial will continue in mid April, we expect. Overall, the courtroom was packed with Rico supporters and the whole town was buzzing about it, not a soul in support of the state, locals sporting “Save Rico” T-shirts all over the place. Our waitress at lunch (in Austin, MN, pop, 24,718) on day one was a supporter, had spent the morning in court, was returning for the afternoon, had seen House of Numbers, knew who Peter Duesberg was and cited him, asked me, “are you Celia?” and insisted on paying our bill.
I will miss my flight if I don’t stop here.
I hope that gives you enough of a sense of the good news, until I return to report more.
The TV cameras in the restaurant where we all convened at the close of the trial, had numerous reports of the trial, and various phones were abuzz with national interest as well.
“We just went national today,” said Steve Nagel. “The trial is done now. Now is time for the tigers to come out and scare. Now is the time for everybody to join together. Now is the fight. “