Judy Mikovits, 53, was released from the Ventura County Jail last week after posting a $100,000 bond. Ventura Superior Court Judge Bruce A. Young set her extradition hearing for Dec. 19.
Mikovits, who lives near Oxnard, Calif., is the former lead researcher at the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease in Reno.
The Reno Gazette-Journal reported that the institute fired her in August and filed a lawsuit against her alleging she “wrongfully removed laboratory notebooks and kept other proprietary information” from lab officials.
Mikovits made headlines two years ago with research linking chronic fatigue syndrome to a retrovirus. But the findings since have been questioned, and subsequent studies have failed to replicate the results.
Lois Hart, a lawyer for Mikovits, said the scientist neither stole research items nor did anything else wrong. She said Mikovits was never a fugitive and was always available to talk to authorities.
Mikovits’ husband, David Nolde, told the Ventura County Star he thinks his wife and the institute will settle their dispute out of court.
“It’s being worked out between the two sides,” he told the newspaper last week. “Judy is a committed dedicated scientist known all over the world. Her only concern is the patients and the science.”
Mikovits formerly worked at the National Cancer Institute. Her team at the institute in Reno announced its discovery in 2009 that people with chronic fatigue syndrome also were prone to a retrovirus in their blood called XMRV, opening the possibility of new treatment options.
But in May, the journal that published the findings, Science, ran what it called an expression of concern about the discovery it said is now “seriously in question.”