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STAT has conducted the first detailed look at the legal showdown that followed by interviewing key players and reviewing hundreds of pages of trial transcripts and other court documents. The jury trial had momentous implications for the future of research into the safety of weight-loss and muscle-building pills; for the freedom of academics to speak out about matters of public health; and for our ability to learn what’s in the supplements on our kitchen counters.

In case things weren’t interesting enough, swirling in the backdrop was a bizarre backstory involving a slew of sensational allegations against the wealthy founder of the supplement company — who dreamed up the business while in prison on a charge stemming from selling ecstasy.

The Harvard researcher, Dr. Pieter Cohen, won the defamation trial in federal court in Massachusetts in November.

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