In the criminal contempt case of U.S. v. Jason Vale, defense attorney Jason Vale called his first and only witness: himself.
After being sworn in that morning of July 17, 2003, the former Laetrile spammer took the stand and began telling jurors the amazing story of how he had beaten cancer by eating apricot seeds. Vale started by explaining how, at the age of fifteen, he had felt something growing in his back.
Judge John Gleeson of New York's Eastern District Court stopped Vale right there. The judge instructed the jury that the case before them was not about the benefits or disadvantages of cancer treatments. What was at issue, he said, was whether Vale had violated the April 2000 injunction prohibiting him from selling any form of Laetrile, also known as B17.
"It doesn't matter to the charge of criminal contempt whether B17 is a good thing or a bad thing. A person has to comply with the injunction," said Judge Gleeson.
Vale cautiously returned to his story. He told about how in 1996 he started selling apricot seeds and a video called "All About Cancer" over the Internet. And then he discovered how to send spam.
"I emailed to the whole world. I said the answer to cancer is 'no,' and I kept emailing out," he told the courtroom. "But then some people who got the spams started to complain. They forwarded the emails to the F.D.A....There is a whole political group out there that doesn't like spamming, but I was on a mission. I didn't care. Plus, I learned ...