Case Thrown Out Against Lawyer Probed in Spain Train Bombings

Update: The FBI issues a rare apology to Mayfield.

A federal judge today threw out the Government's material witness action against Oregon lawyer Brandon Mayfield, who was arrested on a material witness warrant in connection with the Spain train bombings. The FBI misidentified his fingerprint. Background here. The Court's order is here.

Brandon Mayfield, a 37-year-old American convert to Islam, was released from custody last week. But he was not altogether cleared of suspicion at the time; the government said he remained a "material witness" and put restrictions on his movements.

Those restrictions have now been lifted. "Due to the misidentification by the FBI of a fingerprint, the court orders the material witness proceeding dismissed," read a statement posted on the US District Court's website. "The court orders all property seized to be returned to the material witness."

Furthermore, the court said any copies of Mayfield's property held by the federal government were to be destroyed, and that all documents in the case would be unsealed.

Mr. Mayfield and his lawyer held a press conference this afteroon. They were justifiably critical of the material witness statute and the Patriot Act. We predict lawsuits are days away from being filed. We hope he wins big damages.

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