Facing a massive lawsuit
, the U.S. Justice Department is opting to give a $5.8 million settlement to Steven Hatfill, the bio-weapons expert publicly tagged as a "person of interest" in the anthrax-in-the-mail scare from October 2001.
The Department of Justice issued a statement this afternoon:
By entering into this agreement, the United States does not admit to any violation of the Privacy Act and continues to deny all liability in connection with Dr. Hatfill's claims.
Hatfill, whose lawsuit against the New York Times
last year, will receive the lump sum of about $2.825 million and the government will also purchase for him a $3 million annuity that will pay him $150,000 each year for 20 years, DOJ said. Times
columnist Nicholas Kristof was among the first to disclose Hatfill's name
The lawsuit charged the Department of Justice with leaking his name
The anthrax case remains unsolved. The DOJ statement said:
"The government remains resolute in its investigation into the anthrax attacks, which killed five individuals and sickened others after lethal anthrax powder was sent through the United States mail. We commend the agents and law enforcement personnel who have devoted countless hours to the pursuit of the perpetrator of this horrible crime, and we reassure the public and the victims that this investigation remains among the Department's highest law enforcement priorities."Late Update
: This story was updated from earlier versions to reflect the total value of Hatfill's settlement package.