U.S. attorney general back at work after fainting

WASHINGTON Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:20pm EST

1 of 2. U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey addresses the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, California in this March 27, 2008 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith/Files

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey returned to work on Friday after a "fainting spell" during a speech sent him to hospital the night before.

Mukasey walked out of George Washington University Hospital and waved to onlookers after getting what a spokeswoman called a "clean bill of health." He then rode by car to the Justice Department to resume work.

"I feel fine," Mukasey said in a written message to department employees. "As you may have heard, I collapsed briefly last night at the conclusion of a speech. All tests at the hospital have come back with good results."

Mukasey collapsed while defending the Bush administration's anti-terrorism policies to a conservative legal group, the Federalist Society. Television footage showed him beginning to slur his words then slumping at the podium as his bodyguard and others caught him.

"It was a late-night speech under hot lights so all indications at this point are it was basically a fainting spell," Mukasey spokeswoman Gina Talamona said earlier.

Mukasey had undergone tests that ruled out a stroke-related illness or heart problems, she said, adding he had no pre-existing health issues.

Mukasey has been attorney general for about a year, dealing with issues such as terrorism, crime and corporate wrongdoing stemming from the financial crisis. He is expected to leave office in January when President-elect Barack Obama's administration takes office.

Talamona said Mukasey's power was never transferred after the incident on Thursday evening.

"Doctors have described him as fit," she said. "He is very active, you know he works out daily. He gets up early every morning and works out on the elliptical."

President George W. Bush spoke with Mukasey on Friday morning. The attorney general "sounded well and is getting excellent care," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

(Additional reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; editing by John O'Callaghan)

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