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The Court's Crass Comments about 9-11 Litigation

September 10, 2007

I find it extremely telling that the New York Times and other leading newspapers and media outlets failed to report the crass comments of the judge who is handling all of the 9-11 lawsuits in which he basically told the victims' relatives to take the cash and move on. The high-handed way in which Judge Hellerstein is obstructing justice and preventing the relatives from obtaining discovery is nothing less than scandalous.
The 41 families that are still pursuing litigation are doing so because they want to know who is responsible for the loss of their loved ones. They want accountability. Judge Hellerstein, however is pushing to resolve their cases through out-of-court settlements - without discovery.
Former Boston Logan airport FAA security official Brian Sullivan, a close observer of the 9-11 families, said this in response to Hellerstein's crass comments:
We are a country founded on principles. The remaining 9-11 plaintiffs seek justice through discovery and a trial. To assume that compensation can dissipate their principles, and ease their pain, is an assumption the judge shouldn't make.  
Al Qaeda and their Islamic Fundamentalist Extremist brethren are fanatically dedicated to their cause. If money can compromise our principles, they have us defeated before we've even begun to fight.
About the withholding of information from the court because of censorship by the Dept. of Homeland Security's SSI restrictions, Sullivan said:
The Sensitive Security Information designator is supposed to be used to protect information in the interests of national security, not as a shield to cloud government and/or airline negligence and incompetence....This has complicated and obfuscated the process, as the plaintiffs continue to battle for information in discovery and has been the main reason liability trials have been delayed for going on six years.
Source: 9-11: Principle versus Compensation, Nick Schwellenbach, Project on Government Oversight
Hellerstein concluded the afternoon hearing on June 25, 2007 with these comments:
Somehow we need to get past September 11, 2001 as a country and individually for all clients, and I would like to bring about that possibility as best I can, as efficiently as I can in a short a period of time as I can. I guess we are all enlisted in that cause. It is to that end I want to develop these kinds of procedures that I am talking about.
Have a good 4th of July. See you soon.
(Court adjourned)
Photo: U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein who is pushing the 9-11 relatives to settle without getting justice through discovery. "Money is the universal lubricant," Hellerstein says. What he means is take the cash [U.S. government money] and forget about accountability.
Now why would a judge say that while we have the 9-11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in the U.S. gulag in Guantanamo? Why doesn't Hellerstein bring KSM up to Manhattan and have a real trial so we can find out how he pulled it off?

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