- The Washington Times - Friday, July 15, 2005

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Federal agents intentionally deceived a judge to obtain a warrant to arrest a Portland man who was incorrectly linked to terrorist bombings in Spain, the man’s attorney told another federal judge yesterday.

“They’re not telling the truth,” said Gerry Spence, the lead lawyer representing Brandon Mayfield, who was arrested in May 2004, two months after bombs ripped through commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 persons.

The FBI initially said fingerprints found on a bag of detonators recovered at the scene matched Mr. Mayfield’s, but later said the prints belonged to someone else. They released Mr. Mayfield and publicly apologized to him.

A convert to Islam, Mr. Mayfield has filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department, arguing he was singled out because of his faith. He also contends that key sections of the USA Patriot Act, which he says were used to install wiretaps and conduct secret searches of his home, are unconstitutional. Two court hearings were held yesterday in the lawsuit.

Justice Department attorney Richard Montague repeatedly called Mr. Mayfield’s arrest “an unfortunate mistake.”

Mr. Spence, however, pointed his finger at the table of government lawyers and said: “Although they say ‘We’re really sorry,’ we haven’t had an opportunity to say if sorry is enough.”

Mr. Mayfield’s legal team argued that the FBI actively deceived federal Judge Robert Jones to get a material witness warrant to arrest Mr. Mayfield.

Their case hinges on the fact that Spanish investigators told the FBI as early as April 12 — nearly a month before Mr. Mayfield was arrested — that they disagreed with the fingerprint lab’s match. Mr. Mayfield’s lawyers argue that this information was kept from Judge Jones.

According to court records, the FBI was sent a copy of the fingerprints and fed it into a government database, which spit back 20 possible candidates. Mr. Mayfield, whose prints were in the computer because he is a former Army lieutenant, was listed as the fourth most-likely candidate, court documents show.

Mr. Montague countered that the Spanish forensic identification system is significantly different from the one used by the FBI. He also argued that the Spanish National Police had only undertaken a “preliminary” analysis of the print — and so their findings need not have been included in what was presented to the judge.

In an earlier hearing yesterday, another attorney for Mr. Mayfield demanded that the FBI return or destroy copies of paper and computer files seized from Mayfield’s home during the investigation.

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