The family of Florida photo editor, Robert Stevens, who died following an anthrax attack, is to receive a payout of $2.5 million from the US government. According to court filings, Maureen Stevens will no longer pursue other claims.
The lawsuit, which was filed in 2003, claimed government negligence because it did not stop somebody at U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, from creating weapons-grade anthrax in letters used to kill five people, including Stevens.
The anthrax attack also made 17 other people ill.
Robert Stevens, who worked for American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer, Sun and Globe tabloids, was killed due to anthrax exposure on October 5th, 2001. Other letters contaminated with anthrax were also sent to TV networks in New York and a Senate office building in Washington D.C.
Dr. Bruce Ivins was blamed for the anthrax attacks after a long FBI investigation. He committed suicide in 2008.
Some of Dr. Ivins’ work colleagues have expressed doubts regarding his guilt, saying he did not have the means to create anthrax.
Another scientist, Steven Hatfill, was also investigated as a “person of interest” by John Ashcroft, who was Attorney General at the time. Hatfil sued the government for invasion of privacy and was awarded $5.8 million.
Lawsuits by families of the other people who died have been dismissed. One of them is on appeal.
Widow Maureen Stevens, and her three (now adult) children have been named in the settlement. The settlement adds that lawyers’ fees cannot be more than 25% of the $2.5 million payout.
Written by Christian Nordqvist