- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 22, 2008

Attorney General Michael Mukasey returned to work Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours after a health scare when he collapsed and lost consciousness while giving a speech.

Mr. Mukasey, 67, spent the night Thursday at George Washington University Hospital. He had been rushed there after losing consciousness Thursday evening while addressing the Federalist Society at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Northwest. Doctors kept him at the hospital for observation and to conduct routine tests.

“All tests at the hospital have come back with good results, and I feel fine,” Mr. Mukasey said in an e-mail to Justice Department employees. “Accordingly, I plan to report to the Department this afternoon and to continue doing the work I swore to do last November and which it has been an honor to do with you ever since.”

Justice Department spokeswoman Gina Talamona said the attorney general did not suffer a stroke or any heart-related ailments

“It really appears to have been a fainting spell,” she said. “He works long days, he is very active, it was a late-night speech under hot lights.”

She said a CT scan and MRI came back clear, and doctors also ruled out a transient ischemic attack, which is known as a mini- or warning stroke and may precede a major stroke.

“He had a stress test; it was completely normal,” she said Friday. “The doctor said he is in good shape and basically that he ‘beat the machine.’ He also had a stress echocardiogram, which was completely normal.”

After Mr. Mukasey left the hospital, Ms. Talamona said, he went directly to work at the Justice Department . He received his daily national security briefing from the FBI and was brought up to speed on other matters by top Justice officials.

“He also has received and returned many phone calls from well-wishers, including from President-elect Obama,” Ms. Talamona said. “He’s feeling good and plans to leave later today to go home to New York for the weekend. It will be back to business as usual on Monday.”

Ms. Talamona stressed that Mr. Mukasey did not transfer power at any time to Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip.

The attorney general collapsed about 20 minutes into a speech about the Bush administration’s anti-terrorism efforts.

“He started slurring a word, then it became an entire sentence, and his head went down into his chest,” said Craig Richardson, a Colorado lawyer attending the gala. His wife, Valerie, is a reporter for The Washington Times.

Medical technicians quickly arrived and attended to Mr. Mukasey on the stage before taking him in a stretcher to an ambulance. He was described as “conscious, conversant and alert” with strong vital signs shortly after he arrived at the hospital.

He spoke to President Bush by phone just before 7 a.m. Friday, according to White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

“The attorney general sounded well and is getting excellent care,” she said.

• Jon Ward contributed to this report.

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