Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Now Free, Attorney Brandon Mayfield Turns Furious

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Now Free, Attorney Brandon Mayfield Turns Furious

Article excerpt

Local attorney Brandon Mayfield blasted the federal government Monday for jailing him for two weeks without charges and labeling him a terrorist on the basis of a misidentified fingerprint.

Mayfield said that he was "often manacled and chained" while imprisoned, threatened by at least one prison guard and denied the opportunity to visit with his family.

Mayfield, a Kansas-born convert to Islam who runs a small family law practice in Beaverton, OR, was arrested May 6 and detained as a material witness in the investigation of the Madrid, Spain, train bombing that killed 191 people and injured more than 2,000.

Mayfield was jailed for two weeks before being released Thursday afternoon [May 20]. Then on Monday, U.S. District Judge Robert Jones, who had authorized Mayfield's detention, released a statement that "due to the misidentification by the FBI of a fingerprint, the court orders the material witness proceeding dismissed."

Jones also ordered that Mayfield's property was to be returned, the court's protective order was to be rescinded, the "gag order" was to be dropped and court documents were to be unsealed.

Robert Jordan, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, issued an apology to Mayfield Monday afternoon, saying the bureau will consider adopting new guidelines for fingerprint analysis.

"The FBI also plans to ask an international panel of fingerprint experts to review our examination in this case," Jordan stated. "The FBI apologizes to Mr. Mayfield and his family for the hardships that this matter has caused."

Surrounded by a dozen supporters, including his wife and three children, Mayfield called his detention "an abuse of the judicial process" that "shouldn't happen to anybody."

At one point he held up his hand and said, "I'm two or three days out of detention, and I'm just now starting to not shake."

In numerous leaks to the media, FBI officials had said that Mayfield's fingerprints were found on bomb-making material found near the scene of the March 11 bombing. The first hint of a possible American connection to the terrorist attack made front-page headlines in The New York Times on May 7 and brought dozens of reporters into [the Portland suburb of] Aloha to camp out in front of Mayfield's modest suburban home.

Mayfield's attorney, Steven Wax, demanded an investigation of the FBI leaks to the media, which they suspect occurred in Washington, DC.

According to the unsealed documents, Jones originally ordered that Mayfield was to be detained "given the gravity of the matter and possible flight risk. …

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