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Case Continues At Slow Pace

Buffalo, NY – November 15, 2005 – Artist and
University of Buffalo professor Steven Kurtz has been
released from pretrial supervision following a motion
by his pretrial supervisor Zenaida Piotrowicz to the
federal court of Western New York.  Though Kurtz's
case has not yet gone to trial and motions for its
dismissal are still pending, the beleaguered artist
has been on "probation" for sixteen months: reporting
regularly to a probation officer, subject to random
house searches and drug tests, and limited in his
ability to travel.

Almost eighteen months have passed since Kurtz awoke
to find that his wife of twenty years had died of
heart failure in the night. When police came to
investigate the death, they saw lab equipment that
Kurtz used in his internationally known art practice
and to teach his courses at UB. They contacted the
FBI, which detained Kurtz for bioterrorism the
following day, and began an investigation into his
activities that involved the Joint Terrorism Task
Force, the Department of Homeland Security, and
numerous other federal and international law
enforcement agencies, at an estimated cost to
taxpayers in the millions of dollars. After the
lengthy investigation, Kurtz was indicted, not for
"terrorism," but on "mail and wire fraud" charges –
which still carry a maximum sentence of twenty years –
and placed in pretrial supervision with the federal
Office of Probation and Pretrial Supervision.

::Pretrial supervisor requests release, prosecution
attempts to block::

Sixteen months later, arguing that after such a long
term of supervision there was no hint of criminality
or risk of flight, Kurtz's pretrial supervisor Zenaida
Piotrowicz motioned the federal court to release Kurtz
from supervision. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Schroeder
agreed with this assessment and issued an order to
release Kurtz on his own recognizance to await trial.

US Department of Justice prosecutor William Hochul
vigorously attempted to block Kurtz's release. In
spite of his protestations to the court and to Kurtz's
supervisor, the release order was issued.

Kurtz's Defense Committee has stated that this attempt
to block his supervisor's motion for Kurtz' release is
yet more evidence that Kurtz is being treated as an
exception and with extreme prejudice by the Department
of Justice, and that his case is an attempt to
intimidate and gag artists and scholars who, like
Kurtz, are critical of current social, economic, and
political policy. Other facts they site as evidence of
prejudice are:

1) The Department of Justice is completely outside its
own guidelines for prosecution. The Kurtz case meets
none of the standards outlined in 9-43.100 Prosecution
Policy Relating to Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud. This
alleged infraction regarding $256 worth of harmless
bacteria, according to the guidelines, should be
pursued by state agencies, and not the Department of
Justice. State agencies in NY and PA have declined to
take action. The alleged victims, American Type
Culture Collection and the University of Pittsburgh,
have also declined to take any action, either criminal
or civil.

2) The interpretation of mail and wire fraud law the
prosecutor has taken is so extreme as to make
incorrectly filling in and mailing a warranty card to
a manufacturer grounds for federal criminal
prosecution. Last July, at a hearing on the case,
Judge Magistrate Kenneth Schroeder said that such an
interpretation would be opening a "Pandora's box."

3) The Department of Justice has never before tried to
prosecute the alleged breaking of a material transfer
agreement as federal mail fraud. Kurtz is the lone
exception. The substances Kurtz allegedly received are
benign and are not regulated by any law or agency
(EPA, FDA, etc.). William Hochul explicitly admitted
this fact in the Kurtz hearing last July. Moreover,
they are legal for any citizen to buy and possess, and
pose no danger to the public.

Kurtz is currently awaiting a ruling on motions to
dismiss the case filed by his attorney Paul Cambria.


For more information, please contact the CAE Defense
Fund care of Edmund Cardoni (716-812-9237), Gregg
Bordowitz (312-420-6092) or Lucia Sommer
(716-359-3061), or email us at

Additional information is available at