Butler to resign professorship

Convicted plague researcher could face up to 63 months in prison, loss of medical license

John Dudley Miller(

The Texas Tech University researcher convicted last month of fraud and improperly shipping plague samples will resign his professorship, effective Friday (January 30), according to the university and one of his lawyers, Floyd Holder. The scientist, Thomas Butler, will also pay the university under $300,000 to settle their dispute, according to another one of his lawyers, Jonathan Turley.

Butler is likely to be sentenced to 46–63 months in prison for defrauding Texas Tech and illegally transporting plague samples, but the judge in his case is free to reduce his punishment to less prison time or even to none at all, according to a national expert on federal sentencing guidelines. Butler will be sentenced March 4 or 5 in federal court in Lubbock, Texas, Holder told The Scientist.

If he is sentenced to jail, Butler will permanently lose his license to practice medicine in Texas, Holder said, because a state...

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