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The E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse was evacuated Sept. 27 after a police dog sniffed out a “suspicious package” lying in front of the building shortly after 9 a.m. The package contained nothing more than clothes. But the three-hour-long evacuation of the two federal courts housed in the Pennsylvania Avenue building made for an unusual mix of bystanders. Outside the 3rd Street exit, developer Douglas Jemal, who is on trial for allegedly bribing a D.C. official, seemed jovial as he basked in the unusually pleasant weather and chatted with his armada of defense lawyers, including Michele Roberts and Reid Weingarten. Though the judges were whisked away to a “secure location” inside the nearby D.C. Superior Court, at least some found a way to avoid this detention, including D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who was seen among the crowd just hours before his official swearing-in that afternoon. Though there was little fear among the crowd about the unknown object, U.S. marshals weren’t taking any chances and ordered people to move away from the building. As Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who was waiting to begin the scheduled review of classified documents for the case against I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr., led his team of lawyers away, he turned and called out to them, “Let’s find some shade.” Of course, the scattering of the crowd meant that Mark Dubester, one of the prosecutors in the Jemal case, wasn’t sure where all of his witnesses had gone. “It’s a little inconvenient,” he said.
Emma Schwartz can be contacted at [email protected].

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