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US settles suit by Oregon lawyer wrongly accused in Madrid bombings

[JURIST] The US government agreed to pay $2 million Wednesday in a settlement agreement [PDF text] with Brandon Mayfield, the attorney arrested [JURIST report] and detained for two weeks in May 2004 after the FBI mistakenly established that his fingerprints matched [JURIST report] those found on a bag containing detonators used in the 2004 Madrid terrorist train bombings [BBC backgrounder]. Mayfield, a Muslim convert, alleged that the FBI orchestrated his arrest because of his religious belief, though a 2006 DOJ Inspector General report [text] refuted those claims [press release]. After an investigation into his arrest and detainment, the Inspector General [official website], the DOJ's internal watchdog, cleared FBI agents involved in the incident of any wrongdoing and made several suggestions for improvement to the fingerprint identification process that have been implemented by the DOJ. The US also formally apologized [PDF text] to Mayfield per the agreement.

The settlement permits Mayfield to continue his lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging the constitutionality of the USA Patriot Act [JURIST news archive]. AP has more.

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