Federal judge unseals FBI anthrax investigation documents

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Judge Royce Lamberth of the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday ordered the unsealing of hundreds of documents related to the FBI's probe into the 2001 anthrax attacks. Among other papers, the released documents include 14 search warrants issued against government scientist and biodefense researcher Bruce Ivins, who had recently emerged as a suspect in the mailings. Last week, Ivins apparently committed suicide after learning that the Department of Justice planned to prosecute him in connection with the attacks. Officials close to the investigation said that the documents were first released in briefings made to victims' families and that the investigation into the crime has all but ended.

Earlier this month, the US Department of Justice announced that it will pay former US Army germ-warfare researcher Dr. Steven Hatfill $2.8 million to settle his claim that the DOJ violated the US Privacy Act by providing information about him to journalists during its investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks, in which he was at one point named a "person of interest." The DOJ initially agreed to seek a settlement in late June after Hatfill filed his lawsuit. The settlement may moot a contempt case against former USA Today reporter and past JURIST student staff member Toni Locy, who is now awaiting a ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Locy had refused to disclose her related sources in discovery, and Hatfill lawyer Christopher Wright later stated that Locy's evidence was no longer needed by his client.

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