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Montel to focus on Schmidt AIDS trial

The case of a Lafayette doctor convicted of injecting his ex-mistress with HIV-tainted blood will be featured Thursday on Montel Williams syndicated talk show.

Richard Schmidt, whose trial attracted international media attention, is serving a 50-year prison sentence on charges of attempting to kill Janice Trahan, a nurse with whom he had an extra-marital affair.

The case will be included on an episode of Montel to be aired Thursday at 3 p.m.

on KATC-TV 3 titled True Crime: Evidence Left Behinda collection of taped segments drawn from the Court TV show Forensic Files.

Forensic Files devoted a half-hour to the Schmidt case on June 25 in an episode dubbed Shot of Vengeance.

Forensic Files explores cases in which forensic science played a key role in cracking the crime, said show spokeswoman Laura Goldberg.

They are known for looking at the actual science of the case, she said.

In the Schmidt case, that science involved the novel technique of comparing the DNA of two strains of the AIDS virus.

Prosecutors argued that after Trahan ended her 10-year relationship with Schmidt in 1994, the doctor injected the woman with blood from one of his patients with AIDS, telling her it was a vitamin shot.

A key issue in the trial was establishing a link between Trahans AIDS virus and that of Schmidts patient.

Unlike human DNA, so-called viral DNA mutates rapidly, making exact matches impossible.

But researchers believe they can give an opinion on whether two viral strains are closely related by comparing the two strains against a backdrop of other samples.

What they look for are shared characteristics between the two target samples that are not shared by the other samples.

Schmidts attorney attacked the scientific technique, but a judge ruled it was admissible at trial. The conviction was upheld in appeals made all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Schmidt maintains his innocence and still has legal challenges pending in court.

Full credit for this news article goes to: The Advertiser

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