Unanimous Jury Verdict Awards Former Agent $565,000.00 in Damages
Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 5, 2007. In a historic ruling against the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a federal court jury unanimously held that the FBI illegally retaliated against Jane Turner, a 25-year veteran FBI agent. The federal jury found that the FBI retaliated against Ms. Turner when it downgraded her performance reviews. She was awarded $60,000.00 in lost wages and $505,000.00 for damages to reputation and emotional distress caused by the FBI’s retaliation.
The case was previously heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, which had unanimously upheld the right of Jane Turner to go before a jury and state her claims. That decision can be found at Turner v. Ashcroft , 421 F.3d 688 (8th Cir. 2005).
Ms. Turner’s performance had been attacked by FBI managers after she filed a civil rights case and disclosed serious FBI misconduct in its handling of child abuse cases. In one case, Ms. Turner vigorously complained that the FBI had improperly classified the brutal rape of a two year old Native American child as a “motor vehicle accident.” At the trial, government witnesses confirmed that Ms. Turner had successfully “dogged” the case for over one year and forced the government to re-open the prosecution. Her investigation led to a guilty plea by the rapist.
Among the FBI officials who participated in the retaliatory actions against Ms. Turner were James Burrus, the current Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Division and James Casey, a high level official in the FBI’s counterterrorism program.
Ms. Turner is the same FBI agent who also blew the whistle on FBI theft from Ground Zero (the 9/11 WorldTradeCenter crime scene). As a result of her disclosures the DOJ Office of Inspector General confirmed widespread FBI-takings from Ground Zero.
Stephen M. Kohn, one of Jane Turner’s attorneys, and the President of the National Whistleblowers Center, issued the following statement: “The buck stopped here. Jane Turner is an American hero. She refused to be silent when her co-agents committed misconduct in a child rape case. She refused to be silent when her co-agents stole properly from Ground Zero. She paid the price and lost her job. The jury did the right thing and insured that justice will take place in her case. For eight years the FBI misused its performance review and inspection process to justify vicious retaliation against an award-winning agent.”