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A federal jury returned a defense verdict Thursday in a wrongful termination suit filed by a Lebanese-American executive who said his bosses pressured him to quit in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The seven-woman, one-man jury returned its verdict in less than two hours, deciding that former Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Vice President Walid Maghribi wasn’t forced to quit after his bosses questioned him about being an Arab and Muslim at a company dinner party. Noting that the jury had returned its verdict on the second anniversary of the terrorist attacks, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel told jurors, “After those events, there was an atmosphere of fear and sadness and a new way of looking at the realities of the world.” Fogel continued: “There was an outpouring of hostility for people of Islamic faith. It’s very important this trial and your deliberations occurred in public view.” Maghribi sued the Silicon Valley chipmaker in April 2002. A 15-year AMD veteran, he quit as head of the company’s memory chip unit in December 2001. Maghribi’s attorney, Allen Ruby, contended that AMD chairman and founder Jerry Sanders questioned Maghribi about his faith and ethnicity at an October dinner party and that Maghribi was later ordered to do things that would sabotage an important business deal. But AMD’s attorney, Lynne Hermle, argued that Maghribi left AMD because he couldn’t structure the deal in a way that would personally benefit him. Hermle, an Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe partner, said that Maghribi wanted to spin off AMD’s memory chip division, have an initial public offering and make millions on the deal. She also presented evidence that Maghribi had quit several times as a tactic to get raises and benefits. She also called to the stand AMD General Counsel Thomas McCoy, who testified that his own mother was Iranian. Ruby, of San Jose’s Ruby & Schofield, declined to comment. Maghribi was not in court Thursday. “It’s been a privilege and true pleasure to represent AMD,” Hermle said. Afterward, jurors said that they saw this as a management tiff over a business transaction. “I think it was a business deal,” said juror Margaret Santiago. “I don’t think he was discriminated against.” “They just didn’t tie enough pieces together to see it as discrimination,” said jury forewoman Julie McGowan.

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