A candidate for Public Advocate wants the city to join a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia for that country’s alleged role in the 9/11 attacks.
David Eisenbach, a Columbia University history professor, said he will submit an amicus brief in a lawsuit filed by families of people killed in the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
“This action isn’t just about 9/11 but part of a broader effort to use recent changes in the law as leverage to deter future attacks,” he said.
“It’s the right thing to do for the 9/11 families and part of an overall strategy to deter future attacks. This action will signal the City’s willingness to support our citizens and intervene in well-founded private claims against state sponsors of terror.”
Eisenbach, a democrat, is running against incumbent Letitia James for the citywide post. Under the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, citizens are allowed to sue Saudi Arabia on allegations of state-sponsored terrorism.
Families of 850 people who died in the attacks and 1,500 more who were injured filed a lawsuit March 20 in federal court in Manhattan. They claim the Saudi government gave financial and material support to the hijackers of the four jets used in the attacks. The Saudi government has denied any such role.
Eisenbach noted that JASTA is a useful tool, but the families are at a disadvantage because of Saudi wealth and influence.
The city’s involvement in the lawsuit would send a clear signal, he said.
“The fact the City of New York proves its willingness to step up against state sponsors of terrorism levels the playing field for our citizens,” he said. “Any state sponsor of terror that seeks to do us harm has got to realize that we’re here to stay.”
Saudi government officials could not be immediately reached for comment.