Federal government asks judge to throw out American Muslim’s false imprisonment lawsuit

BOISE, Idaho — A federal judge in Boise, Idaho is questioning the urgency that FBI agents felt when they arrested and detained an American Muslim under a law designed to ensure that witnesses show up to testify in court.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mikel Williams questioned Department of Justice attorney Marcus Meeks during a hearing Thursday in a lawsuit brought by Abdullah al-Kidd against the federal government.

Al-Kidd, a U.S. citizen, sued former Attorney General John Ashcroft and other federal officials in 2005, after he was arrested and jailed as a material witness in a terrorism-related criminal case against another man. He contends his arrest was just a ruse to give the government time to investigate him for any potential wrongdoing. The federal government maintains its actions were constitutional.

The U.S. Supreme Court has already thrown out al-Kidd’s claims against Ashcroft and a few other defendants, and al-Kidd has prevailed in a claim against one prison and settled his claims against two other lockups. Now FBI agents Michael Gneckow and Scott Mace and the Department of Justice are asking the judge to throw out al-Kidd’s claims against them.

Court decides Ashcroft can be sued

The full Western appeals court voted to let stand its earlier decision that former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is not immune from a civil action charge. The case is related to Abdullah Kidd, a Kansas-born Muslim convert, whom Mr. Ashcroft have had him arrested without probable cause. Ashcroft had petitioned the Court of Appeals for rehearing of his claim of immunity. The petition has been denied and Mr. Kidd can now proceed with his lawsuit charging former Attorney General with violating his Constitutional rights.