Portland Lawyer Arrested in Spain Bombing Probe

This is a strange story. Portland lawyer Brandon Mayfield has been arrested on a material witness warrant because his fingerprints were on "materials related to the Madrid bombings." When we first read the article, we thought it said his fingerprints were on the bomb-making materials, as in materials used to make the bomb. It doesn't say that. It says "material related to the bomb." That could be anything from letters, to books, to internet articles. Mayfield's wife says he has never been to Spain.

In another twist, the article says Mayfield once represented one of the Portland terror defendants in a custody case. But authorities could find no links between Mayfield and any of the other Portland defendants.

Mayfield, a native of Oregon, converted to Islam in 1989. He served as an Officer in the U.S. Army.

Mona Mayfield said her husband is 37, and that the two have two sons, ages 10 and 15, and a 12-year-old daughter. Her husband, a former Army officer, was born in the small Oregon coastal community of Coos Bay, she said. He converted to Islam in 1989, she said, and attends a mosque in nearby Beaverton. Portland attorney Tom Nelson, who described himself as Mayfield's friend and mentor, said Thursday afternoon that he received a call from Mayfield Thursday, pleading for help. Nelson said Mayfield would be represented by a public defender.

Neighbors said the Mayfields "have been a pleasure to live near."

They used to exchange cookies, and the Witts' grandchildren would play ball with the Mayfield children over the back fence.

The March 11 Madrid bombings killed 191 people and injured 2,000 others.

Update: RMPN has lots more, and is as skeptical as we are.

Mayfield's brother Kent, reached at his home in Halstead, Kansas, confirmed the arrest and the surveillance and said he suspected government agents had tapped his telephone line. "They yanked him out of his home without giving any kind of information to his family," Kent Mayfield told Reuters. "I can swear up and down my brother has no connection to terrorist attacks."

...Brandon Mayfield is a former Army officer and a vocal critic of the Bush Administration's foreign policy, Kent Mayfield said, but he declined to elaborate.
Agents raided Brandon Mayfield's home, taking computer equipment and his wife's credit cards, leaving her with just a driver's license, Kent Mayfield said, adding that the couple had three children.

"I think the reason they are holding him is because he is of the Muslim faith and because he is not super happy with the Bush administration. So if that's a crime, well you can burn half of us," Kent Mayfield said.

Wouldn't be the first time.

Update: ABC News reports officials say that Mayfield's fingerprints were found on a bag containing detonators of the kind used in the Spain train bombings.

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