All along, James Tyler Kimball has said his brush with the law was unnecessary, that it was legal for him to possess a drug he describes as a life-extending aphrodisiac. On Wednesday, a Pasco judge agreed with at least one of Kimball's claims: that the pills seized from his car in December by sheriff's deputies were confiscated wrongfully and cannot be used as evidence against him.
During the hearing, Circuit Judge Maynard Swanson denied the state attorney's motion to reconsider his recent decision that the drug was seized illegally and cannot be used as evidence.
In sticking with his earlier ruling, Swanson significantly squelched the state's case against Kimball, said Kimball's attorney, Eric Ludin of St. Petersburg.
"The order prevents (prosecutors) from admitting into evidence the drugs that they took from Mr. Kimball," Ludin said. "If they can't introduce the drugs, they can't prove he was in possession of them."
Kimball, a 50-year-old Wesley Chapel businessman, was arrested by sheriff's officials on a charge of illegally possessing "a new or habit-forming drug" with intent to distribute it.
The drug, called deprenyl, is conventionally used for patients with organic diseases, but has started to draw attention from tests that show it increases the life span and libido of rats.
"The basis of my motion was that they didn't have any reason to believe he was committing a crime," Ludin said. "Mr. Kimball had a permit from the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) to conduct research and to be in possession (of the drug.)"
Wednesday's ruling leaves the state with two options, as Ludin sees it: to either drop the case or appeal the judge's decision.
Assistant State Attorney Brent Horst said that if his office decides to pursue the matter, it would ask the 2nd District Court of Appeal "to take a look" at Swanson's decision to throw out the evidence.
Even if the higher court were to uphold Swanson's ruling, Kimball still would face possible disciplinary action by the state.
"What's happening in Pasco County has nothing to do with our case," said Melanie Mowry, a spokeswoman with the state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. "We're seeking a $55,000 fine for 11 counts of violation of the Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act."
Mowry, who couldn't discuss specifics because the case is unresolved, said no date has been set for a hearing on the matter.
In March, Kimball, who owns Discovery Experimental and Development Inc. in Wesley Chapel, said he has done extensive research into Eldepryl, the drug's trade name, for its uses as an aphrodisiac and life extender.
He said he has been trying to manufacture the drug in a purer and cheaper form and would like to make it accessible to anyone who wants it.
Ludin said Kimball was stopped in December by authorities after he had left a pilling company in Largo to have the tablets made.
He said Kimball was going to take the pills back to a University of South Florida professor with whom he had been working to test the product.
"The tests included determining whether or not the mixture would fall apart or whether it changes colors over time," Ludin said. "The police were under the impression that Mr. Kimball intended to sell these pills to people so they stopped him and seized them.
"Since the police had no reason to believe those pills were going to be used for any purpose other than lawful research, Judge Swanson ruled that the police could not legally seize them," Ludin said.