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Jacobson’s Defense Seeks To Discredit Genetic Testing

February 20, 1992

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) _ The prosecution rested its case against Dr. Cecil Jacobson Thursday after saying it had established a ″purposeful pattern of deceit″ against the doctor accused of fathering up to 75 children by using his own sperm for artificial insemination.

U.S. District Judge James Cacheris denied a defense motion to dismiss the case. Jacobson faces 52 counts of fraud and perjury on charges he lied about the source of the sperm used for artificial insemination patients.

He is also accused of using hormone injections to trick other women into thinking they were pregnant when they were not.

Jacobson’s lawyer on Thursday contended that ″it’s not against the law for a doctor who is licensed in the State of Virginia to inseminate a patient with his own sperm.″

But attorney James Tate also acknowledged: ″There may have been some mistakes made. There might even be some malpractice. But it’s a very minority of the practice.″

Tate also said Jacobson gave his patients the hormone HCG to try to help them get pregnant, not ″to try to get a phony pregnancy test.″

However, prosecutor Randy Bellows said prosecution witnesses had established a ″purposeful pattern of deceit″ by Jacobson.

The defense also sought to discredit genetic testing that prosecutors say virtually proves the doctor fathered 15 children of his patients by using his own sperm.

A paternity testing expert has testified it is 99.99 percent certain that Jacobson is the father of those children. Gary M. Stuhlmiller of Roche Biomedical Laboratories in Burlington, N.C. said DNA tests showed there was a one in 28 trillion chance that another man could have fathered all fifteen children.

But defense attorney David Axelson asked Stuhlmiller whether some genetic markers he did not test for might have excluded Jacobson, and whether if Jacobson had a twin it would have been impossible to distinguish between the two.

Stuhlmiller acknowledged those two scenarios might be correct. And he agreed with Axelson that if one of Jacobson’s genetic markers were incorrectly analyzed it could create a problem.

Bellows said he has received a letter from the defense indicating that its independent testing of Jacobson’s blood found a different reading for one of the genetic markers.

But Stuhlmiller said that was ″a highly subjective decision″ by the analyst.

″I have absolute confidence in what has been reported,″ by Roche Biomedical, he said.

One former patient testifying for the defense said she was happy with the artificial insemination she received even though it turned out that Jacobson was the apparent father.

A woman using the pseudonym of Frances Red said it made no difference to her that the sperm came from the doctor. ″I was disappointed to find out Dr. Jacobson was the donor in the respect that I was disappointed to find out who the donor was,″ she said. ″It was the government who broke that pledge of anonymity to me.″

She said her son did not particularly look either like her or her husband, but ″it doesn’t make a tinker’s damn worth of difference.″

Three former Jacobson patients testified that they had suffered infertility problems but had healthy babies under his care.

″I am convinced that we have a child because of Dr. Jacobson, for which we’re very thankful to Dr. Jacobson,″ said Judith Navarro.

Two obstetricians vouched for Jacobson’s abilities.

The prosecution also sought to prove that Jacobson committed perjury in a 1989 sworn deposition when he said he had no participation or control in a family financial partnership, Jacobson-Ziff.

The government introduced a number of documents indicating that Jacobson signed checks and guaranteed loans related to the partnership.

Financial consultant Frederick W. Smolen said, ″it appears that Dr. Jacobson was using Jacobson-Ziff for his own personal purposes. It was like a personal piggy bank to him.″

Smolen said that in January, 1988, after Jacobson was told he may be sued by some former patients, he and his wife transferred $1.7 million in property to the family partnership.

Jacobson agreed to stop practicing medicine in 1988 and now conducts privately funded genetics research in Provo, Utah.