TrialSite News host, Shabnam Palesa Mohamed speaks with Katherine Watt and Sasha Latypova about the dismissal of Brook Jackson’s court case against Pfizer, Ventavia and ICON.
She asks them if they were surprised at Judge Michael’s Truncale’s judgment? What did they think about the judgment as it relates to false claims, defrauding government and democracy? What are the prospects of success in other cases against Pfizer?
Katherine Watt Notes, June 19, 2023:
About 15 min of the original interview recording were cut out by the TrialSite News editors, which is why there are weird jump cuts. The removed content included several segments in which Sasha and I described the Pfizer products as weapons, described the lethality of the DoD/HHS program and products as intentional, and urged others — especially litigants, lawyers and lawmakers — to also use accurate terms. TrialSite News video editors probably removed those sections of the recording to reduce the odds of YouTube removing the video from the YouTube video platform.
Brook Jackson’s legal team has filed an appeal of the March 31, 2023 US District Court order of dismissal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and is currently jumping through procedural hoops. (The Fifth Circuit dismissed Jackson’s appeal on May 30, 2023, for procedural errors by her legal team, but re-instated the appeal by order dated June 12, 2023, allowing her team time to remedy procedural errors.)
April 12, 2023 Transcript (PDF):
Shabnam Palesa Mohamed – […] Welcome to the show and thank you for joining us. Our spotlight topic today: Jackson v. Pfizer, Case Dismissed, What Next?
Of course this is an almost three year long, going case in the U.S.
On March 31, 2023, United States District Judge Michael J. Truncale ruled against Brook Jackson, the Pfizer whistleblower who was suing that firm and its clinical trial subcontractor, Ventavia on behalf of the U.S government for substantial irregularities in the clinical trial practices including defective manufacturing standards, informed consent violations, no pharmaco-vigilance system on adverse effects, and untrained staff and irregular gifts to trial participants
Now, the FDA has known of Ms. Jackson’s allegations since at least September 2020, months prior to Pfizer submitting its first invoice to the Department of Defense in December 2020. After a year of silent inaction by the Department of Justice and Judge Truncale, and the gag order on Brook Jackson, the Department of Justice notified Truncale on January 18, 2022 that the Department of Justice had no intention of pursuing Jackson’s case. Jackson had then to choose between quitting and hiring a private attorney to refile.
The judgment in the USA v. Ventavia Research Group LLC, Pfizer Inc and ICON PLC, granted the motion to dismiss, with prejudice, Brook Jackson’s presentment and false record claims, of course that being the heart of the case.
Here to talk to us about this case and the potential way forward and no strangers to TrialSite News, Sasha Latypova and Katherine Watt. Welcome to Interests of Justice on TrialSite News. You’re most welcome. For our viewers who don’t know you yet, please go ahead and introduce yourselves.
SL – My name is Sasha Latypova. I am a former pharmaceutical research and development executive. I spent over 20 years in that industry working for a variety of pharmaceutical companies in clinical trials, supervising clinical trials just like Brook Jackson did. And so I’m familiar with that space and I also spent a lot of time on commercialization and transferring technologies developed in academia into pharmaceutical and medical device products.
SPM – Excellent. Katherine?
KW – I’m a writer and paralegal in the United States and I have a degree in philosophy and natural sciences from Penn State. I worked as a reporter, then I worked as a paralegal for small law firms that do constitutional, civil rights and environmental law.
SPM – Excellent. We can see why this is going to be a fascinating conversation. Let’s start with Katherine. Apart from what I’ve shared in the introduction what other aspects of this case would you like to highlight?
KW: I would like to highlight the significance of the turning point that was Pfizer’s Motion to Dismiss that they filed in April 2022, because that gave the world the first window into the military aspect, the military control of the whole project. And if Brook had not filed her case at all, then Pfizer would not have had to do a Motion to Dismiss and we would not have known at that time that it was a military program under military contracting provisions and other military laws.
And right now, now that I’ve seen the order, it’s giving us another little bit of a window. It sucks that we have to keep doing all of this stuff by reverse engineering because they’ve been lying from the beginning about what they’re doing and that it is a chemical and biological warfare program, not a pharmaceutical project. But having said that, the order is pointing more attention to the Defense Production Act and how that relates to contract law, anti-trust law and a few other things. So those are those are the things I found most interesting about the order so far.
SPM – Thank you, Katherine. Sasha were you surprised by the outcome of this case? Why or why not?
SL – Well, ultimately I wasn’t surprised. You know, as Katherine said, we looked at, we, you know, we started paying much more attention to it when they revealed in Motion to Dismiss that this is a military program. And I, since then have done a lot of research into the — using publicly available documents from the Department of Defense, Operation Warp Speed, BARDA, DARPA, contracts that became available for all the Covid countermeasures, not just vaccines.
I read them carefully and after doing all this research and analysis it became very clear that, you know, this program the, that suing manufacturers, pharmaceutical manufacturers under False Claims Act was kind of a fool’s errand. But, you know, while it was extremely valuable, as Katherine said, and we applaud Brook, and of course her attorneys did, you know, they all tried and they brought the truth out through this process. So the truth won. So far, the case has been dismissed, I think they’re going to appeal.
But it wasn’t surprising because we knew that that Pfizer was doing what the government told them to do. In fact, in the Motion to Dismiss they were claiming, you know, “We didn’t do anything wrong. The government ordered us to produce prototypes and demonstrations, meaning fake and so we produced fakes just like government told us to do.”
So that was their defense. It was in fact valid defense and it wasn’t surprising that, you know, these perverted legal structures were upheld by this court, by this federal court and so the result was as we expected it to be.
SPM – Thank you, Sasha. Katherine what do you think was done well in terms of the strategy or the drafting of the papers?
KW – I think one thing that was done really well and can be seen in retrospect, is that Brook and her lawyers started off by thinking that the rule of law still applied and thinking that federal drug regulations were applicable and thinking that federal contracting law was applicable. And that was a good assumption for them to make because it has drawn out the response that actually the rule of law is not functioning anymore. Contract law is not applicable to this program. And drug regulation is not applicable to this program.
And the other thing I think was really good about her case as distinct from some of the other American federal cases is that it was entirely based on her own observations. When she got there at the end of August , she was there for about three weeks. She saw what was going on. She knew from her own experience that everything that was happening was completely wrong and irregular and dangerous to patients, dangerous to the clinical trial investigators. And she knew all that from her own observations.
Whereas in a lot of other federal cases about this particular project, people have had to speculate because we don’t know actually what’s in the vials. We don’t know exactly when and how the intellectual property has been transferred from the DoD to the manufacturing plants. We don’t — there’s so much that we don’t know, that people have had to build their cases on speculation. But she knew. She saw it. She documented it. She took pictures. And that was what was the core of her complaint when she filed originally in January 2021, also when she notified the DoD that she was going to file in December 2020. She had all of this material from her own direct experience and that is extremely valuable.
SPM – An important point. Before we go into analyzing the judgment, a little more on the strategy. Sasha what do you think could have been done differently from a strategic case point of view?
SL – Well, you know I’m not a lawyer, so it’s difficult for me to advise on the legal strategy. I think knowing what we know now through this experience, through this case and as I said you know the truth won here. We received a lot of information. Everyone, you know, it became public knowledge, what’s going on here.
I think the subsequent cases or appeals or any other legal actions should take this into account, should build on this, should say “We know,” for example, you know, the preamble should be that “We know that the contract law doesn’t apply, that pharmaceutical laws don’t apply, they all got subverted in this following way.”
And then build the subsequent claim based on that. So we need to be very upfront with any courts or judges or prosecutors we go in front of, or legislators, let’s say. We need to be upfront saying, “This is the truth. We know the truth. The law is perverted. And we have no consumer protection, so we have, we don’t have any good manufacturing practices that apply to these products.” That needs to become front and center so that it becomes part of the story that we tell to the courts or to the legislators or to the people.
SPM – Of course, good manufacturing practice and the consumer protection acts around our different countries are extremely high, important to highlight in any litigation. Let’s talk about Pfizer’s defense. They filed a motion to dismiss April 22nd last year arguing that no fraud had occurred and no fraud could have occurred because none of the U.S government DoD contracts required valid clinical trials or evidence of safety or efficacy as a condition for payment.
Sasha, the contracts show that the government agreed to a prototype exercise type of contract. So no matter what Pfizer did in terms of safety according to Pfizer and the U.S government it’s not actually illegal because the client, being government, accepted the unlawful conduct. Your thoughts?
Sasha – Yes, I wrote extensively reviewing Pfizer contracts. They have, separate, they have multiple contracts, and they’re kind of fall into two categories. One is manufacturing. The other one is what’s called Technical Direction Letter and that’s the one that they use in the Motion to Dismiss.
And so, I wrote on my Substack, you can find detailed analysis of these contracts. And yes, the when I read them, they’re written in a very deceitful way. You know, they are, they use a lot of language to confuse and to write internally contradicting, seemingly contradictory clauses.
So, in a well-written contract, all the clauses supporting the subject of the contract and they’re supposed to all work together toward, you know, explaining how that subject of the contract is going to occur.
In this contract, I was surprised to see that they have clauses that contradict each other. In some places, for example, a lot of language mentions Good Manufacturing Practices, that the vaccines are going to be safe and effective, that they’re going to comply with pharmaceutical laws.
But it’s kind of like language, fluff language. When you come to the things that are, you know, potentially enforceable, such as, for example, specific clause about the scope of the contract then, in that clause, it says explicitly that clinical trials and clinical, Good Manufacturing Practices compliance are out of the scope of this project, out of the scope of the contract.
And then, in fact, what Judge Truncale cited in his most, in his dismissal of this case, that that was the case. So that [argument] won. So while a lot of people were saying, “Well, Pfizer is liable. Pfizer’s liable. Look, there’s all this language about Good Manufacturing Practice compliance.”
In fact, what played out in court is the judge pointed to that clause and said “Oh look, it’s out of scope. The government was not supposed to pay for this. And so you can’t say the government was defrauded.”
SPM – Absolutely, too. An astounding judgment. Katherine, you’re based in the U.S so this is an important question to understand. Despite massive levels of debt and bank bailouts etc., in the U.S only 10 percent of qui tam cases challenging fraud on the government, essentially [fraud on] the taxpayer, are won in the U.S. Why is that, why do you think?
KW – I think that that’s because, as we understand now, the laws are set up to facilitate this looting process, by the central banks, of the wealth and the assets and the labor of populations around the world. And so the False Claims Act is there to provide a pretense of ethical contracting and ethical government procurement practices. But it’s just a pretense. It’s not substantive.
And one of the ways that that became more clear also through Brook’s case is that there’s a carve-out or an exception in the False Claims Act itself [31 USC 3730(e)], that as soon as the paper trail or the evidence trail leads to the understanding that U.S government officials such as Congress members, judges, military personnel, and executive branch people like president, vice-president, upper-level cabinet secretaries — as soon as the evidence leads to them, the law can’t be used anymore because they’re exempt from it.
And in this case that’s another thing that became clear with the Motion to Dismiss, was that it really did all go back to the Department of Defense, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the president, that whole executive, administrative State.
SPM – Let’s analyze the judgment, then, by Judge Truncale. Katherine, on false claims he made a distinction between fraud before versus fraud after the contract and in addition he declined to take judicial notice of documents that Jackson had provided to the Department of [Defense]. Your comment on those two points?
KW – …Whether Pfizer got the DoD to sign the contract on fraudulent pretenses and he said that they didn’t because the fraud that Brook was talking about occurred after the contracts were signed, because the contracts were signed in July 2020. I’ve forgotten the second half of your question.
SPM – The second one was, Judge Truncale, declined to take judicial notice of documents provided to [DoD]. Was that surprising?
KW – That was not surprising. Judicial notice is a really interesting thing. One of the things that I was hoping that Brook’s lawyers would do after the Motion to Dismiss and especially after the US government jumped back into the case in October 2022 on Pfizer’s side to say “Yes, we agree no fraud occurred because they did what we asked them to do and we didn’t ask them to do valid clinical trials. That was out of scope.”
I was hoping that Brook’s lawyers would ask the judge to take judicial notice of these unlawful statutes and regulations. They can either notice something and apply it to the case or not notice it. And what was fascinating about him specifically calling out that December 2020 notice that Brook gave to the DoD is that he went out of his way to do it.
Pfizer wanted him to take notice of it, I think because they wanted to say, “Look, it wasn’t our fault. It was the DoD.” But if he had let it in, he would have been acknowledging also that it was a U.S government military program and drawing attention to that. And he is, at this point, trying very hard to protect the DoD.
SPM – Compelling. So, in other words, he had the discretion on both the false claims and on the official notice and he chose to not exercise it or exercise it in a particular direction. Sasha, let’s talk more about that judgment by Truncale. He dismissed a retaliatory firing claim without prejudice, meaning that this claim could possibly be refiled under a different legal theory and he also noted that the C-19 contracts involved the Department of Defense. Your thoughts on the prospects of using these levers for further litigation? Do you think they provide an opportunity or do you think they don’t, they’re just paper tigers?
SL – Well, I am hoping that Brook, you know, that they do the appeal, as the lawyers indicated they were planning to, and Brook indicated that she was planning to. And I’m hoping that, you know, she proceeds with those claims.
As far as the Department of Defense, and specifically, you know, I was appalled by the language — although I think it’s routinely used by the courts, but, by the civil courts — but he wrote something to the extent that this court, the civil court, cannot possibly interfere in the decisions of the Department of Defense, with respect to their military personnel. And that was, that just sounded so bad to me. I don’t know if other people noticed or not, but I wrote about that.
SPM – Yeah, I did read part of that judgment. I want to swing it back to Katherine because you’ve made such an important point there, Sasha. Katherine, in U.S law is there a distinct boundary between the judiciary, the executive and the administration. Is that the point he was trying to make in this argument that Sasha just referenced?
KW – I think in theory there is a distinction. I think it’s been obliterated by what we have now, which is no rule of law anymore and just a criminal enterprise presenting itself as the US government. And through that apparatus all of the components — judicial, administrative, legislative and executive — are levying war against the population. Which is unconstitutional and unlawful but it’s being done anyway. I think that was what he was getting at.
And that is a thread that shows up in a lot of different cases with the phrase “left to agency discretion” or “left to –” because judges defer to it exactly in the way that Judge Truncale did defer to it.
SPM – Do you think if there was a different judge involved the outcome might have been different?
KW – I don’t know. I think that there are judges out there who may have an interest in upholding the Constitution.
SPM – That’s interesting, because he did mention, you know, refiling under a different legal theory. You know, when I read that, I thought, he didn’t actually have to say that but it would be interesting to see where the appeal goes. Sasha, let’s bring it back to you. Have you had any communication with Brook or her legal team sharing your perspectives on legal strategy or who you think the respondents should be?
SL – We haven’t had the debrief after this case dismissal. I mean we interacted and talked to Brook briefly to express our, you know, support and disappointment with this, with how this judgment went. I think they’re regrouping.
Also I’ve been in touch with some of the lawyers, helping out. They’re regrouping and thinking about, you know, how to take it forward. We’re planning to meet soon, within the next couple of weeks, and hopefully we can take it forward, as I said, building on what was drawn out in this battle and going to the next battle.
SPM – Katherine, I think you’ve attempted some communications with the legal team. What was the response to that? Any sort of impact that was felt?
KW – I mean, I haven’t since the — I mean, other than just being supportive of Brook since the decision came out I have not had any communications with her legal team. I had communications with them in October last year after the U.S government came back into the case and agreed with Pfizer that no fraud had happened. And they were polite but not interested.
SPM – So it would be interesting to see where those engagements go going forward. Sasha, there’s a pioneering case in South Africa under the Stop the Shots group name to interdict the Covid-19 shots pending full and independent investigation into safety and to a lesser extent efficacy. There’s now a second interesting case in which Pfizer and others are cited out as respondents. In your view, can any case against Pfizer win, given that Pfizer is being called a Department of Defense front or that it creates shell companies to take the fall in criminal and civil cases? Is there any prospect of success?
SL – Well, I think the legal theories that are utilized by, anywhere in the world, and, you know, including in the US, that are brought should take into account — first of all stop calling these things vaccines and stop pretending like this is a public health event that has gotten wrong somehow or some mistakes were made. The biggest problem I see with all the cases that are being filed — and I didn’t read the South African case fully, it’s like a thousand-page filing — but I read, you know, maybe a few hundred pages of it. That’s what disappoints me, is these pages after pages affirming that this is a medical product, affirming that this is a vaccine, affirming that this is, some kind of a public health problem.
SPM – I think one of those cases does refer to the realities in a more stark way than the other but that may just be in terms of strategy and in approaching the South African courts and we’ll have to see where these two cases go. And perhaps when we have an outcome, we’ll invite you both to analyze the judgment. Again, let’s move forward now to the next question. What is the way forward? Is it public education and advocacy? Is it continuous litigation until the point of success? And if it’s the latter, being litigation, what approach do you think might help us win not only in the US but around the world. Katherine?
KW – I think it’s all of those things. I would just repeat what I said before and what Sasha said about litigation strategies need to respond to the admission of guilt that basically Pfizer and the US government have handed to the world through the Motion to Dismiss and through the Statement of Interest or whatever they called their, the DOJ’s October 2022 filing. That that needs to be taken into account and it hasn’t been yet in most cases that I’m aware of. And the public education needs to continue on the same lines.
SL – I think public education has been very, very successful actually. This is where we won already. You know, the courts and the judicial system, because the laws are perverted, the judicial system becomes sort of the enforcer of injustice. And that’s what, why we’re having such a such a big problem with cases. But they should continue, of course. And there’s more of us than them. So that’s where we, that’s where I call, I call it victory and we should continue and we should continue to educate the public.
Ultimately, the courts and the judges and the prosecutors are political animals. They go where the winds blow. Eventually some, you know, this will succeed. It just it needs more effort and it needs more building on the truth and building on the information that already came out and is already accepted by the public.
Some supporting documents mentioned in the interview:
- 2020.07.20 Base Agreement Pfizer contract
- 2020.07.21 DOD ATI Pfizer Technical Direction Letter
- 2020.09.25 Jackson notice to FDA re: clinical trial fraud
- 2020.12.14 Jackson notice to DoD re: clinical trial fraud
- 2020.12.31 Pfizer invoice to ATI, DoD
- 2021.01.08 Brook Jackson Complaint Pfizer Ventavia Fraud
- 2022.01.18 Gov declines to intervene
- 2022.04.22 Pfizer Motion to Dismiss
- 2022.10.04 Jackson v. Ventavia US Gov Intervene
- 2023.03.31 Judge Truncale Order Dismissal
Some related Bailiwick reporting and analysis:
- Feb. 3, 2023 – Recap of Jackson v. Pfizer, whistleblower Brook Jackson’s False Claims Act case.
- March 2, 2023 – Key quotes from Pfizer’s April 22, 2022 Motion to Dismiss and US Government’s Oct. 4, 2022 Statement of Interest in Support of MtD.
- April 10, 2023 – Judge Truncale went out of his way to decline to “take judicial notice” of Brook Jackson’s Dec. 14, 2020 letter to DoD.