Judge: Iraq Must Pay For 9/11 Attacks
MAY 7--A federal judge today ordered Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and the Taliban to pay nearly $104 million to the families of two victims of the September 11 attacks. In a 33-page opinion, Judge Harold Baer wrote that lawyers for the families "have shown, albeit barely...that Iraq provided material support to bin Laden and al-Qaeda" in the attack on the World Trade Center. Utilizing a law that allows civil complaints against nations identified by the U.S. government as sponsors of international terrorism, the survivors of George Eric Smith, a business analyst, and Timothy Soulas, a Cantor Fitzgerald partner, filed a civil lawsuit two months after the tragedy. In January, after bin Laden, Hussein, and the other defendants--not surprisingly--failed to respond to the lawsuit, Baer issued a default judgment in favor of the surviving families. While Baer noted that plaintiff attorneys offered few actual facts that Iraq provided support to the terrorists, they did "provide a sufficient basis for a reasonable jury to draw inferences which could lead to the conclusion that Iraq provided material support to al-Qaeda and that it did so with knowledge and intent to further al-Qaeda's criminal acts." According to Baer's order, the family of Smith, who was 38 and single, is entitled to $11 million. Soulas's survivors--he was the father of five children and his wife was pregnant at the time of his death--were awarded $93.4 million.
Click here to read Baer's entire opinion (PDF format).