After a trial that touched on issues as varied as ethnic prejudice and the cost of breakfast, a U.S. District Judge in Washington, D.C., denied an FBI agent’s motion for a new trial on claims the Bureau retaliated against him for alleging discrimination because of his Egyptian heritage, the Blog of Legal Times reported.
Bassem Youssef, a Unit Chief in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division and the Bureau’s highest-ranking Arab-American, had complained the FBI discriminated against him because of his heritage and retaliated against him for reporting supposed discriminatory actions to a member of Congress and to the FBI director.
But Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in her Wednesday ruling said “there was substantial evidence in the record at trial suggesting Youssef was not actually harmed” by the denial of his requests to go on inspections which would have helped advance his career within the Bureau.
The FBI tried to get Youssef to reimburse the Bureau for nearly $33,000. The total included $446 in fees for service of summons and subpoenas; $615.50 in copying fees; $5,924.66 in witness fees; and $25,445.30 in fees for transcripts. The FBI prevailed on some of the cost issues, and Youssef was victorious on others.
To read the judge’s ruling is to appreciate attention to detail. She concluded, for instance, that $63.09 was not an unreasonable amount for a witness to spend on two breakfasts and one lunch in his hotel. On the other hand, she found, there was no reason for the witness to come to Washington on a Saturday, two days before his scheduled testimony. Ergo, the defense was not entitled to reimbursement for the witness’s Saturday subsistence.
And the judge wondered why one important witness had to be flown to Washington from Montgomery, Ala., at a cost of $1,137.80, while another witness made it from Little Rock, Ark., for a mere $402.80. The defense should have planned better and booked a cheaper flight from Montgomery, the judge ruled, allowing only $400 reimbursement in that instance.
The judge ordered the FBI to submit a revised bill of costs.