Widow Sues Saudi Arabia for Sept. 11 Attacks Under New Law

By | October 3, 2016

A woman widowed when her husband was killed at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001 sued the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia just two days after Congress enacted legislation allowing Americans to sue foreign governments for allegedly playing a role in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

Stephanie Ross DeSimone alleged the kingdom provided material support to al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, in a complaint filed Friday at a U.S. court in Washington. Her suit is also filed on behalf of the couple’s daughter. DeSimone was pregnant when Navy Commander Patrick Dunn was killed.

Fifteen of the 19 men who hijacked airliners used in the attack were Saudi nationals. One jet struck the Pentagon, seat of the U.S. military, two destroyed the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York while another crashed in a Pennsylvania field as its passengers fought back against the hijackers.

A U.S. commission that investigated the 2001 attacks said in a 2004 report that it “found no evidence that the Saudi government, as an institution, or senior officials within the Saudi government funded al-Qaeda.” Long-classified portions of a congressional inquiry that were released in July found the hijackers may have had help from some Saudi officials.

The kingdom has previously denied culpability. Its embassy didn’t immediately reply to an e-mailed message seeking comment on the suit.

An official at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the state-run Saudi Press Agency on Sept. 29 that the U.S. Congress must correct the 9/11 bill to avoid “serious unintended consequences,” adding the law is of “great concern” to the Kingdom.

DeSimone, who is suing for wrongful death and intentional infliction of emotional distress, is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

The case is DeSimone v. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 16-cv-1944, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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Latest Comments

  • October 10, 2016 at 4:09 pm
    Deplorables says:
    integrity, hasn't this country been bitten enough? When you have a President bowing to the King of Saudi Arabia, that is a sure sign of submissiveness to Islam. I predict Ob... read more
  • October 3, 2016 at 6:14 pm
    integrity matters says:
    UW- If we had laws pertaining to frivolous lawsuits, I would say "Absolutely!" If there were a law, the question would then become "Would this be a frivolous lawsuit?" That wo... read more
  • October 3, 2016 at 6:07 pm
    integrity matters says:
    There is very little that I have ever agreed with Obama. This is one of them. Congress should not have passed this law allowing people to sue a foreign sovereignty. This will ... read more

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