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Mistaken Madrid bombings arrest of Portland lawyer goes to trial

[JURIST] Brandon Mayfield [Wikipedia profile; JURIST news archive], a Portland lawyer and Muslim convert, returns to a federal courthouse in Portland Friday for a pretrial hearing in his civil lawsuit against the US government. A little over a year ago Mayfield was arrested as a suspect in the Madrid train bombings [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] that killed 191 people. The FBI originally claimed that his fingerprints were found on a bag of detonators near the scene but later backpedaled and apologized [FBI press release], admitting the prints didn't match, and blaming its make on faulty analysis. Mayfield, who has never traveled to Spain, claims he was pursued because of his faith and is challenging key portions of the Patriot Act [text] that allow wiretaps and clandestine home searches as unconstitutional. The US Department of Justice is seeking to dismiss the parts of the lawsuit challenging the Act. AP has more.

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