The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Bill (JASTA) allows American citizens, including the families of victims of 9/11, to sue foreign states in response to acts of terrorism in the U.S. In September of 2016, the Senate rejected a veto by President Obama for the first time and passed JASTA. The Miller Firm then swiftly filed the first 9/11 lawsuit against Saudi Arabia since JASTA’s passing on behalf of a woman who was widowed on 9/11 and her child. Formerly classified Congressional reports reveal coordination between Saudi officials and the 9/11 hijackers and Saudi Arabia has aggressively lobbied against JASTA in D.C.
Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain Propose to Weaken JASTA
In November of 2016, John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina introduced a proposal to change JASTA in a manner that would make it more difficult for families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia. They seek to narrow and specify the application of the law and McCain referred to their plan as a “caveat” while speaking on the Senate floor. The organization, 9/11 Families and Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism, responded with a powerful rejection of this proposal. National Chair Terry Strada stated in a press release on November 30, 2016, that, “[Senator Graham] and Senator McCain are seeking to torpedo JASTA by imposing changes demanded by Saudi Arabia’s lobbyists.” JASTA has been strongly supported by both Republicans and Democrats, which makes this new proposal unlikely to succeed. Politico also explains that, passing this bill “during the lame duck session would require the unanimous consent of all 100 senators, a tall order considering Congress hopes to recess next week for the rest of the year,” (politico.com/story/2016/11/graham-mccain-saudi-arabia-911-23206).
Saudi Arabia Continues Anti-JASTA Lobbying
Saudi Arabia threatened to sell off billions in U.S. assets if JASTA was passed and continues to spend millions lobbying against it. They are paying the lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs $100,000 per month and hired Qorvis MSL Group and Flywheel Government Solutions in November as well. According to a document filed with the Foreign Agents Registration Unit, Flywheel Government Solutions will reach out on behalf of Saudi Arabia to U.S. Governors and Lieutenant Governors to “educat[e] them on the impacts and potential risks/threats that JASTA poses on their states’ business and economic interests, members of the military, and national security,” and to enlist them to publish anti-JASTA editorials (fara.gov/docs/6386-Exhibit-AB-20161027-1.pdf).
The Miller Firm continues to provide robust representation to victims of terrorism and is presently accepting clients who were injured or family members who experienced terrible loss on September 11, 2001. Please call 1-800-882-2525 and ask to speak to attorneys David Dickens, Timothy Litzenburg, Michael Miller, or Nancy Miller. They can be reached as well at [email protected] or [email protected].