Critical Art Ensemble's Steve Kurtz cleared of federal charges

Wow, this is huge. After four years, remaining charges against artist Steve Kurtz have been dismissed:

For the first time in four years, since his wife died of heart failure in their Allentown home, setting off a government investigation into whether he was a terrorist because of the bacteria he kept for his artwork, Steven J. Kurtz is finally free of federal charges.

Kurtz, 49, the University at Buffalo art professor and co-founder of the Critical Art Ensemble, saw a federal judge dismiss the government charges Monday as “insufficient on its face.”

U. S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara said the government could not support the charges of wire fraud and mail fraud for the way Kurtz obtained bacteria from a fellow academic at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Robert E. Ferrell.

The dismissed indictment came as no surprise to Kurtz’s lawyer, Paul J. Cambria, who has described the government’s prosecution as “an unbelievable overreaction.”

“Kurtz and Ferrell never dreamed that anybody would claim they were violating some law by basically acquiring Level One — which is harmless — bacteria and trying to create an art project,” Cambria said after learning of the dismissal. “They never thought in their wildest dreams that someone would think that was a crime.”

[Story continues]

Justice prevails, it seems, except this guy's life has been turned upside down by what many see as the government's punitive behavior against artists and people outside the mainstream.

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