NEW YORK (Reuters) – The accused mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, assaults has indicated a willingness to be deposed by victims who’re suing Saudi Arabia for damages, if the US decides to not search the demise penalty in opposition to him.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s supply was disclosed late Friday in a letter filed within the U.S. District Courtroom in Manhattan by attorneys representing people and companies in search of billions of in damages.
The Saudi authorities has lengthy denied involvement within the assaults, wherein hijacked airplanes crashed into New York’s World Commerce Heart, the Pentagon exterior Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania discipline. Almost three,000 folks died.
Michael Kellogg, a Washington-based lawyer for the Saudi authorities, declined to remark. The Wall Road Journal reported earlier concerning the letter.
In keeping with the letter, the plaintiffs’ attorneys have been in touch with attorneys for 5 witnesses in federal custody about their availability for depositions.
The attorneys stated three, together with Mohammed, are housed on the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detention camp, the place they face capital fees, whereas two are on the “Supermax” most safety jail in Florence, Colorado.
In keeping with the letter, Mohammed wouldn’t agree “nowadays” to be deposed, however that would change.
“Counsel said that ‘the first driver’ of this choice is the ‘capital nature of the prosecution’ and that ‘[i]n the absence of a possible demise sentence a lot broader cooperation could be attainable,’” the letter stated.
Mohammed and the opposite Guantanamo detainees have been attending pre-trial hearings of their circumstances, the letter stated.
James Kreindler, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, stated it was not clear how helpful Mohammed could be.
“We’re simply actually leaving no stone unturned,” he stated.
The U.S. Division of Justice didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Saudi Arabia lengthy had broad immunity from Sept. 11 lawsuits in the US. However that modified in September 2016 when the U.S. Congress overrode President Barack Obama’s veto of the Justice In opposition to Sponsors of Terrorism Act (“JASTA”).
In March 2018, U.S. District Choose George Daniels in Manhattan, who oversees the litigation by victims, stated their claims “narrowly articulate an affordable foundation” for him to say jurisdiction by JASTA over Saudi Arabia.
His choice coated claims by the households of these killed, roughly 25,000 individuals who suffered accidents and plenty of companies and insurers.
The case is In re: Terrorist Assaults on September 11, 2001, U.S. District Courtroom, Southern District of New York, No. 03-md-01570.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Enhancing by Dan Grebler