On Wednesday a federal judge on rejected the Saudi Arabian government’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit accusing them of financing Al Qaeda and sponsoring the 9/11 attacks.
The lawsuit demands Saudi Arabia pays billions of dollars in damages to the families of the more than 300 people that died in the 2001 attacks. The lawsuit against Saudi Arabia was filed in May 2017 on behalf of the families if 850 people who were killed in the attack and another 1,500 who were injured. The group is seeking monetary damages from the Saudi Arabian government, claiming it was “duplicitous” in the attacks. The Saudis filed a motion to dismiss, pinning their argument on a lack of jurisdiction by American courts over any alleged actions overseas.
U.S. District Judge George Daniels ruled that the lawsuit may proceed, citing the 2016 Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which Congress passed by overruling a veto by President Barack Obama. Obama opposed the law citing the possibility that U.S. troops and other government entities could be exposed to lawsuits in other nations.
Daniels’ judgment was also based on the plaintiffs’ deposition of Zacarias Moussaoui, an Al Queda operative currently serving six life sentences in U.S. federal prison for his role in the 9/11 attacks. Daniels wrote in his decision “According to Plaintiffs, Moussaoui’s testimony establishes new facts showing that the Moving Defendants aided Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda by providing funds and other forms of material support in furtherance of the 9/11 Attacks.”
In addition, Daniels said the plaintiffs may obtain discovery evidence regarding allegations that two Saudi government agents in California provided assistance to several of the 9/11 hijackers.
“We are very pleased to report that Judge Daniels denied Saudi Arabia’s motion to dismiss and ruled that the plaintiffs may conduct limited jurisdictional discovery of the Kingdom,” attorney Jim Kreindler, who is representing the 9/11 victims’ families, said in a statement.
Although Daniels allowed the lawsuit to proceed, he threw out the plaintiffs’ allegations that three Saudi banks should be included in the complaint for allegedly transferring funds to aid the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, citing lack of jurisdiction. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers involved in the 9/11 attacks came from Saudi Arabia, inspiring victims and their families to seek legal restitution.
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