A U.S. judge ruled that AMR Corp’s American Airlines and United Continental Holdings Inc must face trial over claims relating to the September 11 attacks that destroyed the landmark towers of the World Trade Center in New York almost 11 years ago, court documents showed.
In July 2001, two months before the attacks, World Trade Center Properties LLC (WTCP) bought 99-year leases to four World Trade Center buildings from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Inc for $2.805 billion.
In its lawsuit against United Airlines and American Airlines, WTCP said that had it not been for the airlines’ negligence, “the terrorists could not have boarded and hijacked the aircraft and flown them into the twin towers,” on September 11, 2001, according a New York court filing.
The company claimed damages of $8.4 billion from the airlines, the estimated cost of replacing the towers.
Judge Alvin Hellerstein limited the value of WTCP’s destroyed property to $2.805 billion, the price WTCP paid for the leases.
The defendants denied they were negligent, and said the case should not go to trial because WTCP has recovered $4.091 billion from insurance companies.
U.S. forces found and killed the al-Qaida leader in the affluent Pakistani town of Abbottabad, where he had been living in a large compound.
Judge Hellerstein said at this stage he could not reasonably determine the defendants’ claim that insurance payments received by WTCP covered the damages the company is seeking from them.
“On this record, before trial, I am not able to make such findings,” Judge Hellerstein said in a court filing.
The case is in re September 11 litigation, Case No. 21-MC-101, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.
Nearly 90 firefighters were called to the scene of a fire on the 88th floor of One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, fire officials said Wednesday morning
No one was inside the building when the flames erupted, and it wasn’t immediately clear what caused the blaze.
Emergency officials told CBS the FDNY said welding may have sparked the fire.
The DoJ set up a task force in the 1990s to investigate reports of data manipulation by the FBI crime laboratories.
The findings of the investigation revealed that the laboratories of the FBI manipulated DNA test results under pressure from superior authorities and presented flawed results for years in order to tilt the case in favor of the claimants and against the defendants.
The issue was first revealed in 1995 when Fredric Whitehurst, a chemist and lawyer who worked at the FBI’s crime lab, testified that he was told by his superiors to perjure in order to facilitate the prosecution of two men accused of involvement in the World Trade Center bombing in February 26, 1993.
“There was a great deal of pressure put upon me to bias my interpretation,” the FBI whistleblower said at the US District Court in New York in 1995.
Whitehurst had written or passed along scores of memos over the years warning about the lack of impartiality and scientific standards in FBI’s forensic research on the World Trade Center attack and in other cases.
After the Justice Department’s inspector general began a review of Whitehurst’s claims, Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis J. Freeh decided to launch a task force to dig through thousands of cases involving discredited agents, to ensure that “no defendant’s right to a fair trial was jeopardized.”
It took the task force nine years to complete the mission. However, it never publicly released the results of its case reviews of suspicious lab work, the names of the defendants who were convicted as a result and the nature or scope of the forensic problems it found.
Tens of thousands are probably in jails on account of the flawed and criminal lab work conducted by the FBI, Whitehurst noted.
A recent review by the US daily Washington Post on more than 10,000 pages of the task force documents revealed that “the panel operated in secret and with close oversight by FBI and Justice Department brass – including Reno and Freeh’s top deputy – who took steps to control the information uncovered by the group.”
Innocent prisoners who were probably jailed mistakenly never got the chance to have their cases reviewed, because neither their advocates nor their relatives were informed of the flawed nature of the FBI laboratory results.
The Justice Department continues to decline to release the names of the affected defendants.