FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The head of the company that claims to have created the first human clone appeared in court Wednesday and insisted under oath that the baby exists and is in Israel.
With that, Circuit Judge John Frusciante said the baby would be outside the jurisdiction of the Florida court, and he threw out a petition seeking the appointment of a guardian for the child.
But the judge warned Clonaid president Brigitte Boisselier: "You cannot pursue human cloning with impunity."
Boisselier said she had seen the child, nicknamed Baby Eve by the company, only on videotape before the parents cut off contact with her last week. The company said it has since cloned two more babies, but has not provided any proof of their existence.
Boisselier said she maintains contact with the pediatrician "in charge of the baby." She said the doctor does not want to be identified.
The judge cut off questioning about where Clonaid does its work.
Boisselier, a 46-year-old chemist, testified in place of another company executive who had been under a court order to appear.
Bernard Siegel, the attorney who had sought the guardian for the purported baby, said he hopes Israeli authorities investigate the case. "My great concern was the welfare of this child being hidden from the world," he said.
It was Boisselier who announced last month that Clonaid had produced a healthy human clone. At the time, she promised that independent DNA testing would soon prove the claim.
She later backed off, saying Eve's parents were frightened by the Florida guardianship petition and feared they would lose the baby if they made her available for testing.
Without the tests, the cloning claims cannot be validated. Some experts believe the whole thing is a hoax by the religious sect behind Clonaid, a group called the Raelians that believes life on Earth was started by space aliens.
Clonaid claimed last week that a third cloned child, a boy, had been born in Japan. It said clone No. 2, a girl, was born to a Dutch lesbian Jan. 3.