3Q: Retired FBI agent Jane Turner on winning her lawsuit against the FBI
class=img_thumbleft>As today's Strib reports , retired FBI special agent Jane Turner--whose long fight with her superiors at the FBI was chronicled by City Pages in October 2004 --won her federal lawsuit against the Bureau yesterday. Jurors in the case awarded Turner $565,000, a sum that her attorney called the largest jury finding for a single agent in a civil rights case against the FBI.
I caught up with Turner on Tuesday morning to ask about her victory.
City Pages: What was it like for you during the week or so when you were waiting for the verdict?
Jane Turner: I had told the jury, and the court that the FBI management had committed the act of "Death by a thousand papercuts", a FBI trick where the Bureau buries you under paperwork. My concern while waiting for the verdict was that I hoped all the paperwork the Bureau laid down was not too confusing for the jury. I was worried that the belief a lot of people hold that the FBI can "do no wrong", was not a part of their decision. I was worried that jury members would buy into the lies that FBI managers put on paper, and said on the stand. Because the bottum line was the question the jurors had to answer: why would the Bureau go to such lengths, and weave such a web of deception to destroy some little woman agent working in Indian Country in the middle of nowhere. I struggle with that answer every day, and it just comes back to arrogance and dysfunction at the highest level.
CP: Now that the trial is over and you've won, do you feel you'll be able to lay the experience to rest?
Turner: Lay things to rest? I can assure you that a tremendous weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I have a validation that was eight years overdue. But as long as the people who were responsible for the retaliation and obstruction of justice in my case hold high level positions in some of the most sensitive positions in the FBI, I will never rest until accountability is brought to the fore at the FBI. There are other victims, other situations, out there which did not have the great attorneys I had. It took massive amounts of money, experience and time to bring validation, and I want to save other agents from a little bit of the suffering that the FBI managers can inflict on whistleblowers.
CP: Have you given any thought to what you'll do now that your long battle is over?
Turner: For the short term, my plan is to take my 12-year-old daughter to Disneyland. For the long term, I wish to put this experience into a book, and maybe do a consulting service. Most certainly, my 30-year career in law enforcement is over. Time for reflection on what comes next in my life. I am excited, however, to finally have this brutal phase of my life over with. It took such a huge toll. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I have 65 pounds to lose. I guess I will take that on first.
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