NBC’s Pete Williams reported that the U.S. Government has agreed to pay Stephen Hatfill about $5.8 million in the case of the anthrax attacks that happened soon after 9/11. Hatfill had been declared “a person of interest” in the attacks. Williams said that it is “safe to assume” that Hatfill is no longer considered a person of interest.

This video is from MSNBC News Live, broadcast June 27, 2008.

The following is a closed caption transcript of Pete Williams’ report.

WILLIAMS: this is a development in the investigation and the subsequent fallout of those anthrax mail attacks that followed after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. those anonymous mailings that went out and eventually caused serious disruption here in washington in addition to injuries and deaths of postal workers. one of the people who was caught up in the investigation was a former army scientist named steven hitfill describe bid the attorney general as a person of interest in the case. his lawyers have long said that he had nothing to do with it. hatfill, himself, made a number of tearful public statements says he was wrongly accused. just within the last few hours, the department of justice, the united states government reached a legal settlement with steven hatfill in which the government will pay him over $5 million if suggesting he was a person of interest.

now, the settlement says that the government does not admit any fault. this is sort of standard legal settlement language. this should not be construed, the government said. the admission of liability or fault of any employees. you can safely say, steven hatfill is no longer a person of interest in the anthrax case. they would not reach a legal settlement on friday and charge them with the crime the next week. the united states government has formally watched its hands of steven hatfill as a suspect in the anthrax case or a person of interest.

this was the settlement agreement signed today. there is the signature of a government lawyer. right under it is the signature of steven hatfill agreeing to the settlement.

under the terms of the legal agreement, the government is going to pay him over $2.8 million and buy an annuity contract for him worth $3 million. you but put the two together, roughly $5.8 million as a result of the government one time calling steven hatfill a person of interest.

you may recall the federal agents were tailing him, searched his house, residents he had, carted things away. search an apartment, followed his car. had blood hounds go to a restaurant where he had once been. he also complained he had gotten, after he had difficulty finding a job in washington, he had gotten a job as a consultant to the university, the u.s. government, the justice department call the university and suggested he would not be a good person to train people to work with hazardous materials.

this is a big development in the an thax investigation. the government reaching a settlement with one-time person of interest, steven hatfill in the an thax investigation. an investigation that still goes on. as of just, today, law enforcement officials tell nbc news they don’t believe any indictments are imminent. this is not a sign somebody else is about to be charge. it’s the sign that the government has washed its hands of steven hatfill and will pay him over $5 million.

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