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Mukasey Returns to Work After 'Fainting Spell'

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 22, 2008

Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey walked out of George Washington University Hospital yesterday afternoon and reported directly to work, brushing off his collapse a night earlier at the lectern of a conservative legal event.

Mukasey, 67, underwent a battery of tests, but none showed evidence of serious medical problems, Justice Department spokeswoman Gina Talamona said. "There is no indication that he suffered a stroke or any heart-related incident," she told reporters outside the hospital yesterday. "It really appears to have been a fainting spell."

The retired federal judge has been working long hours to ease the transition to a new administration. Despite recurrent back pain, he exercises daily on an elliptical machine and travels frequently to visit his family in New York.

Mukasey received his daily national security briefing and took calls from well-wishers, including President-elect Barack Obama. The attorney general also sent reassuring messages to his 108,000 employees and to members of the Federalist Society, which hosted him as keynote speaker Thursday evening. "I was truly humbled to hear all of the prayers and well wishes sent on my behalf from attendees at the dinner," he wrote.

Toward the end of a speech Thursday night on Bush administration counterterrorism victories, Mukasey shook and his words slurred, according to people present at the black-tie dinner in Northwest Washington. He then slumped over as FBI agents raced to his side.

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