I am writing to update you on the latest news regarding the lawsuit against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Last week, the Federal court heard arguments on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s motion to dismiss our case.
Judge Daniels and Magistrate Judge Netburn presided over the hearing. Co-counsel Steve Pounian of Kreindler & Kreindler, and Sean Carter who represents others in a consolidated action, argued for the plaintiffs.
Both the large ceremonial courtroom where arguments were held and the two overflow courtrooms were filled to capacity.
The Kingdom argued that despite the Justice against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), our case should be dismissed.
It relied heavily on one conclusion in the 2004 9/11 Commission Report that found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded Al Qaeda”.
Judge Daniels acknowledged that the 9/11 Commission report’s finding of “no evidence” did not by itself warrant dismissal of the plaintiff’s’ case, but he pressed plaintiff’s counsel about what evidence does exist to establish that the Kingdom bears responsibility for the 9/11 attacks.
Steve Pounian spent almost an hour walking the Court through the complicated facts regarding exactly how various Saudi officials helped the hijackers and funded Al Qaeda.
He argued that it was premature to dismiss the case. He told the Court about new evidence that was not before the Commission in 2004.
He convincingly demonstrated why the Kingdom should not be let out of the case at this early stage, and asked the Court to require the Kingdom to produce documents and witnesses relevant to the issues in the case—something it clearly doesn’t want to do.
The Court appeared receptive to our arguments.
The Court reserved its judgment and it may be some time before we receive a ruling so please don’t expect any more news for several months.
We will let you know as soon as the Judge makes a decision.