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His Name Isn't Victor Goetz
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His Name Isn't Victor Goetz

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Feds seek delay in anthrax lawsuit
Palm Beach Post ^ | 1/31/04 | Alan Gomez


Posted on 01/31/2004 6:17:22 AM PST by TrebleRebel


Feds seek delay in anthrax lawsuit

By Alan Gomez, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Saturday, January 31, 2004

WEST PALM BEACH -- Federal attorneys are citing national security concerns in asking a Palm Beach County judge to delay a lawsuit filed by the widow of the nation's first anthrax victim, saying it could undermine one of the "largest and most complex investigations in law enforcement history."

In motions filed this week in federal court, lawyers for the government said, "... a stay of this civil suit is necessary to avoid compromising the United States' active investigation of the anthrax attacks of fall 2001 and to avoid public disclosure of sensitive information concerning biological weapons such as anthrax."

Unable to reach a resolution with the plaintiffs, federal attorneys are facing a March deadline to respond to the lawsuit filed by Maureen Stevens, whose husband, Bob, died after being exposed to anthrax while working as a photo editor at American Media Inc. headquarters in Boca Raton.

Wednesday's request to Federal Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley was for a six-month delay, and then for an opportunity to review whether another delay is necessary.

Maureen Stevens filed the lawsuit in September, seeking $50 million in damages for herself and her three children.

Her attorney argued in the suit that U.S. officials failed to secure a Maryland laboratory where the deadly bacterium was stored. The suit bases its claims on a memorandum that names the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md., as the source of the Ames anthrax strain that Stevens believes infected her husband.

The Stevenses' attorney, Richard Schuler, said at the time that the family was frustrated over the government's stonewalling tactics, taking months to turn over an autopsy report, denying them access to DNA tests and even denying them money from the Sept. 11 Victims Compensation Fund.

In the government motion and a 114-page memorandum supporting their request, federal attorneys said Stevens' hope for a speedy investigation would undercut what has become a monumental investigation into a series of crimes that crippled the country.

Shortly after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the country was sent into another panic as anthrax-laden letters and numerous hoax letters appeared across the nation, including media outlets in New York and Boca Raton and congressional buildings in Washington. Twenty-two people were infected with anthrax, five people died and 30,000 were treated with antibiotics to protect against anthrax infection.

In an affidavit attached to the motion, Richard Lambert, the FBI's inspector in charge of the FBI/U.S. Postal Service investigation known as "AMERITHRAX," explained the breadth of the ensuing investigation.

Federal agents have responded by putting in 251,000 agent-hours -- the equivalent of 97 work years -- interviewing more than 5,000 people and serving more than 4,000 subpoenas, Lambert said. The affidavit says the investigation has yielded "subjects of the investigation" and says that a "specific forensic signature is continuing to emerge which characterizes the anthrax used in the attacks."

Opening the files in the Stevens case, federal attorneys argued, would only hinder that investigation and possibly keep law enforcement from catching the responsible parties.

"Plaintiff's frustration that the murder of her husband remains unsolved and her desire to help the United States' investigation to succeed are understandable," the motion reads. "Unfortunately, however, the means that plaintiff seeks to employ -- stripping the investigation of its secrecy and conducting her own parallel investigation via this civil suit -- would be extremely harmful rather than helpful. Litigation of this suit also would pose a significant risk of disclosing classified or sensitive information relating to the acquisition, development, and use of weapons of mass destruction such as anthrax, a risk that independently justifies a stay."

Federal attorneys also included a March 2002 memorandum from White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card to all executive departments and agencies calling on them to review their records to ensure sensitive information is being safeguarded.

No hearing has been scheduled for the government's request.

alan_gomez@pbpost.com



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TOPICS: Anthrax Scare; Front Page News
KEYWORDS: ANTHRAX
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1 posted on 01/31/2004 6:17:22 AM PST by TrebleRebel
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To: Sabertooth; Allan; Mitchell; genefromjersey; jpl
Surprise, surprise - after 2 1/2 years and draining ponds in Maryland the Feds are getting so close to an arrest that this lawsuit would just interfere with their investigation.

Or it could it be that for some unkown reson they don't want the public to see the evidence concerning how the anthrax was weaponized?

2 posted on 01/31/2004 6:20:17 AM PST by TrebleRebel
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To: TrebleRebel
"Unable to reach a resolution with the plaintiffs, federal attorneys are facing a March deadline to respond to the lawsuit filed by Maureen Stevens"

Good for Mrs. Stevens - she obviously refuses to be bought off. It's not the money she wants - it's the truth.

3 posted on 01/31/2004 6:26:45 AM PST by TrebleRebel
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To: TrebleRebel
The "vital national security" aspect is that someone pissed away $50-$100M drilling a dry hole with "AMERITHRAX."

If it came from Iran, Syria, or anyplce else, it is the right of the people to know. And if it is the will of the people that nation should be erased from the face of the Earth, so be it.

4 posted on 01/31/2004 6:31:01 AM PST by eno_ (Freedom Lite - it's almost worth defending)
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To: TrebleRebel
Good for Mrs. Stevens - she obviously refuses to be bought off. It's not the money she wants - it's the truth
Looking for it from our government/legal system is an exercise in futility.


5 posted on 01/31/2004 6:53:32 AM PST by steve50 ("There is Tranquility in Ignorance, but Servitude is its Partner.")
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To: TrebleRebel
http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/dec01/s121501b.asp
Check this out. Read paragraph beginning with "Regardless of whether ISU.... I will post another curious article in a separate post.
One of the articles about Maureen Steven's suit stated that her lawyer had been denied access to the DNA information.

6 posted on 01/31/2004 7:19:20 AM PST by Battle Axe (My real name means War Hammer.)
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To: TrebleRebel
The truth is out there. Time to hear it.

7 posted on 01/31/2004 7:54:54 AM PST by Ranger
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To: TrebleRebel
Any old excuse will do.

8 posted on 01/31/2004 8:02:02 AM PST by latrans
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To: steve50
In the remote event that she should win this, the money should come from federal pensions. - FBI's first - with no repayment by the taxpayer, resulting in less than $4000 a month to the federales in retirement at Boca Raton.

9 posted on 01/31/2004 9:07:49 AM PST by henderson field
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To: henderson field
On the remote chance that it even gets a fair shot at going to court, I wonder what the legality of taking out a life insurance policy on her is?

10 posted on 01/31/2004 9:12:12 AM PST by steve50 ("There is Tranquility in Ignorance, but Servitude is its Partner.")
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To: eno_
The "vital national security" aspect is that someone pissed away $50-$100M drilling a dry hole with "AMERITHRAX."
I love it whenever someone displays basic good old fashioned common sense and a well-functioning BS detector, and you certainly do.

....saying it could undermine one of the "largest and most complex investigations in law enforcement history."

Personally, I'd call it one of the biggest jokes of an investigation in law enforcement history, right down there with the Beltway Sniper investigation. And at least that one eventually got solved, thanks to a particularly alert truck driver.


11 posted on 01/31/2004 10:22:29 AM PST by jpl
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

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To: TrebleRebel
They are still trying to decided which pond will get drained next week.

13 posted on 01/31/2004 2:54:35 PM PST by ChefKeith (NASCAR...everything else is just a game!)
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To: ChefKeith
decided

14 posted on 01/31/2004 2:55:28 PM PST by ChefKeith (NASCAR...everything else is just a game!)
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To: Sanchito
http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/dec01/s121501b.asp This is one of the quotes that states that "ISU didn't currently have that strain." The second one has Cheville saying that they didn't have the strain when it was mailed. But did they have it and someone stole it? Did they know what was stolen, and they knew they had multiple vials? These people of all were the ones that knew that each vial has a genetic fingerprint just as different as my fingerprints are from yours.
Second article: October 20, 2001 Newsmax.com Wires titled Iowa Destroys Anthrax Stores
Dr. Jim Roth, the leader of the destruction, states there was no overall inventory so there was no way to determine is any vials were missing. Two paragraphs later he says that all the vials were kept in a locked laboratory, and there was no evidence any was missing.
So much inconsistency in their statements. The destruction says a great deal.

15 posted on 01/31/2004 4:35:53 PM PST by Battle Axe (My real name means War Hammer.)
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

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To: Sanchito
And on that glorious day we shall gather and feast!! I'll even buy!
BA

17 posted on 01/31/2004 7:19:22 PM PST by Battle Axe (My real name means War Hammer.)
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To: Sanchito; Van der Waals; Princeton; AnthraxProfiler
Hey you friggin' weirdo, listen up and listen carefully: the guy that you keep insanely thinking is the anthrax murderer and that you nuttily believe is going to inevitably be arrested by the FBI sooner or later doesn't work at Merck, his name isn't Victor Goetz, and he doesn't live anywhere in or near New Jersey. He a biology grad student at Caltech named Luigi Warren. Please stop repeatedly trolling this site under different names and personalities if you don't mind, thanks.

18 posted on 02/02/2004 10:56:43 AM PST by jpl
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