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Peerenboom, seeking to pin Perlmutter as the mastermind behind the hate mail campaign, conspired with his attorney to covertly collect DNA from Perlmutter in order to compare it to DNA extracted from saliva on the hate mail envelopes. So the two came up with an elaborate scheme: His attorney subpoenaed and deposed Perlmutter and his wife as part of a separate lawsuit; during the course of that litigation, Peerenboom’s attorney attempted to gather Perlmutter and his wife’s DNA from objects they had touched, including papers specially treated to collect genetic material. Eventually, they captured DNA from a water bottle the Perlmutters had used inside the courtroom.

One laboratory interpretation of the secretly collected DNA samples excluded the Perlmutters altogether. Another, which the Perlmutters alleged was false, found that Mrs. Perlmutter could not be excluded as a suspect. They handed the results of the test to the police, who had been trying to get to the bottom of the hate mail campaign.

In 2016, the Perlmutters countersued Peerenboom, his attorney, and the forensic lab for “conversion.” Conversion is roughly the civil court equivalent of theft. The Perlmutters were alleging that Peerenboom and his attorney had effectively stolen their DNA.

…continue reading ‘How a Legal Brawl Between Two Rich Guys Could Change How We Think About DNA’

Image via Flickr  Attribution Some rights reserved by Jeric Santiago

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