Judge Brinkema Unseals Documents For Use in Civil Case
Judge Leonie Brinkema, the presiding judge for the federal case against Al Qaeda terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, unsealed documents used during the case, in order to provide assistance for lawyers representing 9/11 families in a civil case.
According to CNN, Brinkema’s decision is being called "unprecedented" by prosecutors. The aviation security documents, which are not classified, contain information which may be beneficial to attorneys in the civil case against American and United airlines, both of which had two planes hijacked.
However, prosecutors say that releasing the documents to the families’ attorneys may compromise future criminal cases.
The plaintiffs in the civil case sued both airlines for wrongful death, and opted not to receive federal aid from the seven billion dollar fund.
For the wrongful death suits to be successful, the families will need to prove negligence on the behalf of the airlines, and having the security documents may help them do it.
U.S. attorney Chuck Rosenberg made a motion that Brinkema change her order, and has requested a hearing on May 19.
"I hope they keep the documents open," Sade Smith, a sophomore at Texas Southern University said. "My best friend’s family is part of the civil suit, and anything that helps them win will be a good thing."
Smith says that declining the federal aid was "a tough decision for them to make, but they wanted to see the airlines brought to justice. There’s still so much anger, and so much pain."
9/11 is in the spotlight due to a film which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival (which began five years ago, as a way for New Yorkers to come together for a positive event). ‘United 93’ is about the hijacked plane that was forced down into a Pennsylvania field by crew and passengers.
The film has received much critical acclaim.
According to David Jensen, film reviewer for Newsweek, "[‘United 93′ is] as observant of the fear in the young terrorists’ eyes as the hysteria in the passenger cabin, and smart enough to know this material doesn’t need to be sensationalized or sentimentalized."
"It was ok," said Kelly*, a Howard University student who saw an advance screening for family members of the victims. "It was hard to watch – and the woman they cast didn’t look anything like my aunt, but [the producers] didn’t do a bad job."
She said they interviewed family members to get the aspects of characters as close to accurate as possible. Kelly, whose aunt was a crew member on the plane, said she did "appreciate the effort."
‘United 93’ debuts in theatres Friday.
*Asked not to be identified.