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A Los Alamos Laboratory employee has been badly beaten up in an attack his lawyer says was designed to keep him from testifying before Congress about alleged financial irregularities he uncovered at the facility.

Photo courtesy of Rothstein, Donatelli, Hughes, Dahlstrom, Schoenburg & Bienvenu, LLP

According to his wife, 52-year-old Tommy Hook was lured to a bar in Santa Fe late on Saturday night, the Associated Press reports. His wife, Susan, says that he was expecting to meet someone who had more information about the lab.

But the man he went to meet didn't arrive, and as he was leaving the club, a group of men attacked him. He told his wife that the men pulled him out of his car, and then kicked and beat him. Susan Hook says he has shoe marks on his face.

Nothing was take from his car, and his wallet was not stolen. His lawyer Robert Rothstein of New Mexico law firm Rothstein, Donatelli, Hughes, Dahlstrom, Schoenburg & Bienvenu, argues that with no other obvious motive, it looks like the attack is related to his whistle-blowing.

"It is clear to us that this was a message," Susan Hook told AP.

Hook also has a lawsuit pending against the laboratory, in which he accuses managers of the facility of making his life, and that of another whistle-blower, Chuck Monato, so unpleasant that they would quit their jobs.

He is now recovering in hospital. He suffered a broken jaw and other injuries.

Los Alamos released a statement saying it was "outraged" by the attack. ®

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