Saturday, May 29, 2004

Believe what we tell you to Or we will destroy your career A lawyer joins the unfortunate few who have faced the task of rebuilding their lives after being falsely linked to heinous crimes Now that federal officials say Brandon Mayfield had nothing to do with the Spain terror attacks, the comparisons are unavoidable: He is the new Richard Jewell. The new Raymond Donovan. The new Wen Ho Lee. Like other innocent men fingered by the federal government in high-profile -- and often deplorable -- crimes, the Portland-area attorney finds himself trying to pull his name from the mud. The FBI spent much of May mistakenly linking the fingerprint of the suburban dad and devout Muslim to the death of 191 people in Madrid. So, how does he rebuild his reputation, much less his fledgling West Slope law practice? "I'm still in the process of trying to figure that out," Mayfield said earlier this week, sounding weary after an afternoon of unpacking computers and files returned by the FBI. "Only time will tell." Certainly, time helps, according to those who have found themselves in a similarly lonesome and unnerving place. But rebuilding a reputation that the government has sucker punched on the front pages of newspapers around the globe isn't easy at all, they say. Donovan, President Reagan's labor secretary who was acquitted of racketeering charges after a lengthy trial by jury and media, famously left the courtroom asking, "What office do I go to to get my reputation back?"
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