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Baltimore lawyer talks about 9-11 bill to get victims, families justice

Posted at 10:56 AM, Sep 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-12 10:56:49-04
9-11 is a day most can never forget, especially the victims and their families.  
 
Legislation that unanimously passed the House Friday could mean that those affected directly by those terror attacks can sue Saudi Arabia.
 
The legislation is called The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism act or JASTA. It passed the Senate in May, and is expected to hit president Obama's desk in the coming days.  But for those hit directly by the events of 9-11, justice can't come soon enough.
 
"Now finally, the individual citizens, the victims, and their families can pursue the litigation court," Baltimore attorney Joshua Ambush told ABC2. 
 

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"It will mean that they can hold Saudi Arabia accountable to answer in court, the litigation that's already been filed against Saudi Arabia that's been dismissed partially and it's back and forth." 
 
Ambush represents Mike O'Neill's family.  O'Neill  was killed in one of the world trade towers. He also played a major role in the war against terror.
 
"He spent his career going after al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden and he himself investigated many of the terror attacks," Ambush said.
 
Ironically, O'Neill had worked for just 11 days as head of security at the World Trade Center before he was killed by terrorists.  JASTA may help his family get justice.
 
"Symbolically he's an important figure and his case against the king of Saudi Arabia as a class action is symbolically important," Ambush said.
 
Family of  9-11 victims say while the president may worry about passing the JASTA legislation,  it will do more good than harm to the country.
 
"So as long as we're not financing terrorist groups and we're not causing terrorist attacks in other countries, we don't have anything to worry about. It's a very narrowly crafted piece of legislation that only deals with that directly. There's not going to be lawsuits rampant from that," said Terry Strada, who lost her husband on 9-11.
 
Ambush says he, along with hundreds of other lawyers, think the JASTA legislation will survive one way or another
 
"If we can't the first hurdle of getting the president to sign the legislation there's a chance of getting congress to override the veto."
 
And while it may not erase the devastating images of 9-11, it may bring some form of peace
 
"The families feel they had someone listen to them listen to their stories and that is comforting and meaningful and is a form of justice in itself," Ambush said.
 
Although JASTA has received significant bi-partisan support,  President Obama is expected to veto it, saying it could open the U.S., its service members and diplomats to significant risk if other countries adopt similar laws.
 

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