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Latest Legal Filings in Anthrax Letters Lawsuit

Update (7/29): Today, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel T. K. Hurley approved the Department of Justice's request to submit corrected motions to dismiss the Stevens' family wrongful death case.

Yesterday we wrote that a Florida judge rejected the Justice Department's attempt to correct some embarrassing filings in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of photo editor Robert Stevens, the first person to die in the 2001 anthrax letter attacks. Now Justice has filed new motions to more fully explain and correct its earlier ones, which suggested that Army microbiologist Bruce Ivins didn't have the equipment in his lab to make the deadly anthrax powder—as the FBI and Justice have long maintained he did. While we wait for the judge to weigh in, here are links to the new filings and earlier stories we reported with PBS Frontline and McClatchy Newspapers.

What does this mean:

“Now, Justice has filed new motions asking to more fully explain and correct its earlier ones, which suggested that Army microbiologist Bruce Ivins didn’t have the equipment in his lab to make the deadly anthrax powder—as the FBI and Justice have long maintained.”

Are you incorrectly claiming that the FBI and Justice have long maintained that “Bruce Ivins didn’t have the equipment in his lab to make the deadly anthrax powder”?

Or are you incorrectly claiming that the FBI and Justice have LONG MAINTAINED that earlier motions said Bruce Ivins didn’t have the equipment in his lab to make the deadly anthrax powder”?  That error occurred just last week.

Or are you claiming that the FBI and Justice have LONG MAINTAINED that Ivins HAD the equipment in his lab to make the powders?  That would be correct.

The FBI and Justice have always claimed that Ivins HAD the equipment in his lab to make the deadly anthrax powders.  He just didn’t have a lyophilizer, which some would incorrectly assume was required to dry the powders.  The incorrect filing last week contained ONE SENTENCE that was incorrect and implied that a lyophilizer was required to dry powders, and Ivins didn’t have one in his lab. 

This whole series of articles is about that ONE INCORRECT SENTENCE. 

The judge indicated he didn’t think it was necessary to correct that sentence, since it didn’t really affect the motion to dismiss or the motion for a Summary Judgment.  But, the DOJ refiled anyway to set the record straight.

This is much ado about nothing.  The “big deal” is really the motion for a Summary Judgment and the motion to dismiss.  It looks like the government has a good argument.  It’s unfortunate, since I was somewhat rooting for Maureen Stevens to be compensated. 

Ed

Ed,

Thanks for pointing out my ambiguous prose. I’ve added a couple words to clarify what I meant to say: Yes, the FBI and Justice have long maintained Ivins DID have the means to produce the attack spores.

Tom,
Just a word of warning here - Ed’s question to you was simply to get an argument started. The best tactic with Ed is to ignore him.

He has an entire website devoted to “proving” that Bruce Ivins singlehandedly carried out the anthrax attacks. His campaign against Bruce Ivins can only be described as a work of fanaticism. Google anthraxinvestigation.com to learn about his obsession with Bruce Ivins.

Ed also has another hobby - as well as being a self-proclaimed anthrax “expert” he studies dubious fake pictures of celebrities - just Google “Ed Lake fake detective” and you will learn about his credentials.

Watchmaker,

I really don’t want to start an argument, but I’m not “a self-proclaimed anthrax ‘expert’.”  NTI: Global Security Newswire proclaimed me to be an “anthrax expert.”  :-)

And, my web site isn’t devoted to “proving” Bruce Ivins was the anthrax mailer.  Before Ivins committed suicide, I thought that a scientist in New Jersey was “most likely” the anthrax mailer.  The facts released after Ivins’ suicide simply proved beyond any reasonable doubt that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax mailer.  I updated my web site accordingly.

Ed

You are wrong Ed.