A federal judge in Manhattan has entered a Final Judgment in Havlish, et al. v. bin Laden, et al., awarding more than $7 billion in damages and interest to forty-seven 9/11 victims and their families. U.S. District Court Judge George B. Daniels (S.D.N.Y.) adopted a recommendation on damages by U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank Maas, specifying millions in damages to the estates and family members in two October 2012 orders.
The families had already won a December 2011 ruling from Judge Daniels that Iran and Hezbollah directly and materially aided al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Final Judgment in Havlish marks a milestone in the history of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
Final Judgement Awards Seven Billion for Mental Anguish and Punitive Damages
Judge Daniels awarded to the Havlish plaintiffs $394,277,884 for economic damages, $94,000,000 for pain and suffering of forty-seven 9/11 victims, $874,000,000 for mental anguish and grief by those victims’ families, and $4,686,235,921 in punitive damages. Judge Daniels also ordered $968,000,000 in pre-judgment interest on some damages elements. The Final Judgment totals $7,016,513,805.
The rulings by Judge Daniels hold that Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali-Hoseini Khamenei, former Iran president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the Iranian Ministry of Information and Security, a dozen Iranian government departments and government-owned corporations, and Iran’s terrorist proxy organization Hezbollah, all are liable to the Havlish plaintiffs for direct and material aid and support to al Qaeda in carrying out the 9/11 attacks. The federal court’s ruling was based on substantial evidence, including sworn videotaped testimony by three Iranian military-intelligence defectors, ten experts’ affidavits, including three by former 9/11 Commission staff members, and other documentary evidence presented by the plaintiffs’ attorneys in filings in May, July, and August 2011, culminating in a December 15 public hearing in a Manhattan courtroom. Judge Daniels then issued 276 Findings of Fact and 35 Conclusions of Law supporting his December 22, 2011 ruling. After a nine-year investigation, the Havlish attorneys had proved Iran’s and Hezbollah’s involvement in the 9/11 attacks in a U.S. federal court.
Familes of 9/11 Victims Find Closure
“For over a decade, we’ve wanted to hold accountable those who assisted the September 11 terrorists in their attack on the United States. That day has finally arrived,” said Fiona Havlish whose husband, Donald, perished on the 101st Floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
Ellen Saracini, the widow of Victor Saracini, pilot of United Flight 175 which was the second aircraft to hit the WTC, stated, “No amount of money will bring my husband back. But the rulings of the Court hold Iran and Hezbollah responsible and accountable for aiding and supporting al Qaeda, and that is a very important step toward achieving some measure of justice for Victor, the other victims, and the families.”
Correlation between 9/11 Hijackers and Iran
The 9/11 Commission had found that “there is strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers.” Further, a “senior Hezbollah operative” and his associate were on some of the same flights into Iran and Beirut, Lebanon, as the 9/11 terrorists. The 9/11 Report concluded: “We believe this topic requires further investigation by the U.S. government.” 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT, p. 241. The Havlish investigation revealed that the “senior Hezbollah operative” was Imad Mughniyeh, the longtime Iranian agent and chief of Hezbollah’s terrorist operations.
The Havlish case appears on the docket of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York asIn Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001: Fiona Havlish et al v. Usama Bin Laden et al, Civil Action No. 03 MDL 1570 (GBD) (FM); 03-CV-9848 (GBD) (FM).