- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 17, 2005

BALTIMORE (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed two claims in former Army scientist Dr. Steven Hatfill’s lawsuit against the Justice Department, but left open the possibility he could hold officials accountable for comments about him during the anthrax investigation.

Dr. Hatfill sued the Justice Department, the FBI, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and other officials in 2003, claiming that his civil rights were violated when he was labeled a “person of interest” in the investigation into the anthrax attacks.

He has denied having a part in the anthrax-laced mailings of 2001, which killed five persons. No arrests have been made in the case.

In his suit, Dr. Hatfill claimed that some officials leaked discrediting and false information to the press about him, harmed his reputation and damaged his chances of obtaining employment.

Mr. Ashcroft, former FBI official Van. A. Harp and Justice Department employees Timothy Beres and Daryl Darnell had asked the court to dismiss three claims in Dr. Hatfill’s suit that sought to hold them individually responsible.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton dismissed two claims involving the individuals, but he kept intact a third claim, which seeks a court declaration that Mr. Ashcroft and the others unconstitutionally deprived Dr. Hatfill of employment opportunities. The claim also seeks an injunction that would bar officials from future violations. It does not expose the individuals to monetary damages.

A fourth claim, seeking monetary damages from the federal government for alleged Privacy Act violations, also remains alive. It was not part of the ruling Friday.

Dr. Hatfill, a physician and bioterrorism specialist, worked from 1997 to 1999 in the Army’s infectious diseases laboratory at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md.


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