Attorney General Michael Mukasey Released From Hospital (Video)

November 21, 2008

AG-mukasey-3.jpgAttorney General Michael B. Mukasey left George Washington Hospital
early this afternoon, apparently headed for his office, after
collapsing while giving an speech at a Washington hotel Thursday night.

Mukasey, 67, was hospitalized overnight for observation and underwent
routine tests, earning “completely normal” results on a stress test
this morning, spokeswoman Gina Talamona said.

He left the hospital at 12:17 p.m., smiling and looking chipper in a dark suit and vibrant red tie.

“He was given a clean bill of health,” Talamona said at a briefing
for reporters earlier in the day. “There’s no indication that he
suffered a stroke or any heart-related incident. It really appears to
have been a fainting spell.”

President Bush spoke with Mukasey by telephone before 7 a.m. and
reported that he “sounded well,” a White House spokeswoman said. Late
this morning, Mukasey sent an e-mail to Justice Department employees,
saying he felt “fine” and planned be back at his desk, working, later
this afternoon.

“He’s ready to sprint to finish the race,” Talamona said, referring to the waning days of Bush’s term in office.

A person who attended the black-tie annual dinner of the Federalist
Society at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel said Mukasey was visibly
shaking and perhaps slurring his words before he fell to the floor
Thursday night. Video footage showed a tuxedo-clad Mukasey, 67,
staggering behind a lectern as FBI agents in his security detail raced
to his side.

D.C. fire and emergency services personnel were called to the hotel
in the 2600 block of Woodley Road NW for a report of a man who had
fainted in the main ballroom. Rescuers found a man suffering from a
fainting spell, said Alan Etter, a D.C. fire department spokesman.
Another source said the medics worked on Mukasey for about 10 minutes
before taking him out of the ballroom on a gurney.

Etter declined to identify the man, citing privacy laws. The patient
was conscious, had no trouble breathing and was able to speak with
rescue personnel, Etter said.

A man other sources identified as Mukasey was taken to the hospital
as a priority one patient as a precaution but apparently had a “general
illness” that was not thought to be life-threatening, Etter said.

A second man, 29, from the audience was also taken to a hospital for
observation after reporting that he was upset by the fainting spell,
officials said. The two episodes prompted authorities to take hazardous
material tests for potential dangers, but officials found no sign of
harmful chemicals at the hotel.

A lawyer from New York at the black-tie dinner said Mukasey’s speech
became noticeably slower, and it appeared at first that he might be
choking up.

“He was clearly struggling. Then his face went limp, he started shaking
as if he were having a seizure, and then he fell back,” said the
lawyer, who was sitting 50 yards from the stage.

His security detail immediately ordered all the lights in the room
to be dimmed and told guests not to leave the room. It took paramedics
at least 15 minutes to arrive, a witness said, during which time the
room was virtually silent. After Mukasey was taken out on a stretcher,
someone asked that everyone say a prayer for him before the gathering

Former Indiana representative David McIntosh (R) led the group in prayer after the incident.

Justice Department officials including Deputy Attorney General Mark
Filip gathered at the hospital. In a formal statement released near
midnight, department spokesman Peter Carr said: “The Attorney General
is conscious, conversant and alert. He is receiving excellent care and
appreciates all of the good wishes and prayers he has received. The
doctors will keep him overnight for further observations.”

Mukasey has served as the nation’s chief law enforcement official
since last winter. He is a retired federal judge from New York who
accepted the taxing job because of his interest in counterterrorism and
national security, a topic his remarks last evening addressed.

Source: Washington Post

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