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Arnold & Porter Obtains Litigation Settlement Restoring Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s Retirement Status and Benefits

October 14, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC, October 14, 2021 —Arnold & Porter obtained a settlement on behalf of Andrew McCabe, the former Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which fully resolves Mr. McCabe's wrongful termination lawsuit against the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). On March 16, 2018, just hours before Mr. McCabe's long-planned retirement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he had fired Mr. McCabe from the FBI and removed him from the federal civil service. Sessions' actions followed a year and a half of former president Donald Trump's false public attacks on Mr. McCabe and his wife, beginning shortly before the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Arnold & Porter filed Mr. McCabe's lawsuit in August 2019, alleging that he was unconstitutionally fired for refusing to pledge his personal loyalty to the former president. Under the settlement, which is available here, the federal government will:

  • rescind and vacate the removal of Mr. McCabe from the FBI and civil service;
  • record Mr. McCabe as having been employed continuously by the FBI from 1996 until his retirement on March 19, 2018 as the FBI Deputy Director and a member of the Senior Executive Service;
  • deem Mr. McCabe as having retired “in good standing” for the purposes of the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act; and
  • place Mr. McCabe into the federal retirement system as of March 19, 2018, restore his full retirement pension from that date forward, and provide various other retirement benefits.

The Arnold & Porter team was led by partners Howard Cayne and Murad Hussain and included associates Owen Dunn, Nora Ellingsen, Oluoma Kas-Osoka, Marissa Loya, and Ryan White.

“Politics should never play a role in the fair administration of justice and civil service personnel decisions,” said Mr. McCabe. “I am deeply grateful for Arnold & Porter’s dedication to my case, and I hope that this result encourages the men and women of the FBI to continue to protect the American people by standing up for the truth and doing their jobs without fear of political retaliation.”

Arnold & Porter partner Murad Hussain added: “For 140 years, civil servants like Andrew McCabe have been the federal government’s backbone, pledging their loyalty to the Constitution rather than to any politician or political party. This settlement and the district court’s rulings make clear that attempts to corrupt the federal workforce through partisan intimidation and improper political influence will not go unanswered.”

In August 2019, Arnold & Porter filed Mr. McCabe’s lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The settlement follows the court’s September 2020 denial of the government’s motion to dismiss and for summary judgment, and a March 2021 hearing where the court granted Mr. McCabe’s motion to compel the production of certain investigative files from the DOJ Office of Inspector General.

Arnold & Porter’s successful representation of Mr. McCabe is the latest example of its historical commitment to protecting government employees from partisan retaliation. Starting in the McCarthy era of the 1950s, Arnold & Porter’s attorneys have represented numerous federal officials who faced dismissal or other retaliation over unjust accusations of disloyalty because of their perceived political associations.

Under the settlement, the government has agreed to pay a portion of Arnold & Porter’s fees and expenses. The Firm will donate all such fees to the Arnold & Porter Foundation. The foundation, which was set up to further advance Arnold & Porter’s efforts toward equality and justice, is a tax-exempt private foundation that provides scholarships to minority law students, funds fellowships for recent law school graduates at tax-exempt organizations, and awards grants to other charitable and educational organizations.


Wendy Morigi, +1 202.942.5516

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