Wednesday, November 29, 2006

$2M cash infusion coming to Oregon from federal government

This just up on CNN:
An Oregon lawyer wrongly arrested and accused of involvement in the 2004 Madrid train bombings has settled a lawsuit against the U.S. government for $2 million, attorneys told CNN on Wednesday.

Brandon Mayfield was arrested in Portland, Oregon, on a material witness warrant in May 2004, less than two months after the train bombings.

The settlement was confirmed by both sides. It was reached Tuesday during a conference with a federal judge, attorneys said.

The FBI identified Mayfield's fingerprint on a blue plastic bag containing detonators found in a van used by the bombers. However, the FBI's fingerprint identification was wrong and Mayfield was released several days later.

Mayfield and his family later sued the U.S. government for damages. The Portland-area attorney contended that he was a victim of profiling because he is a Muslim convert.

The Justice Department denied the profiling allegation in a prepared statement on Wednesday.

The settlement includes not only a $2 million payment, but an apology, said Mayfield's attorney, Elden Rosenthal.

And the apology, quoted in its entirety in the article, is actually a by-god apology, not one of those mealy-mouthed "We're sorry if our actions were misinterpreted" statements.

Closing irony: According to TPM Muckraker,
a March 2006 report from the Justice Department's Inspector General examined the Mayfield case and the Patriot Act, and concluded that for the most part, the new law had no impact on the way the FBI investigated the case. But, the report found, the Patriot Act did  allow the FBI to share information about the innocent Mayfield more broadly within the intelligence community.
Think that'll happen anytime soon? Don't hold your breath.

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