U.S. government settles 2001 anthrax case

June 27, 2008 at 6:07 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 27 (UPI) -- A deal was reached Friday with the U.S. Army doctor who sued the government for casting suspicion on him in the 2001 anthrax attacks, federal officials said.

Under terms of the settlement, the U.S. government will pay Dr. Steven Hatfill and his attorneys $2.85 million and will buy Hatfill an annual annuity of $150,000, Brian Roehrkasse, Justice Department public affairs director, said in a statement.

"The government has determined that settlement is in the best interests of the United States," Roehrkasse said.

In his lawsuit filed in 2003, Hatfill says top Justice Department and FBI officials violated his constitutional rights to promote their own self interests when the investigation into anthrax-dusted letters stalled. Among other things, he was under 24-hour surveillance for a year, said the former researcher at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md.

By entering the agreement, the government "does not admit to any violation of the Privacy Act and continues to deny all liability in connection with Dr. Hatfill's claims."

Five people died and thousands were forced to take antibiotics after anthrax-laden letters were mailed to media outlets and two U.S. senators in 2001.

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