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Court case links Iraq to 9/11 attacks

By Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 8, 2003

NEW YORK - A federal judge Wednesday ordered Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and others to pay nearly $104-million to the families of two Sept. 11 victims, saying there is evidence, though meager, that Iraq had a hand in the terrorist attacks.

The closely watched case was the first lawsuit against the terrorists believed responsible for the World Trade Center attack to reach the damages phase.

U.S. District Judge Harold Baer ordered the damages be paid by bin Laden, al-Qaida, the Taliban, Hussein and the former Iraqi government. The judge ruled against them by default in January after they failed to respond to the lawsuits brought on behalf of two of the trade center dead.

James Beasley, a Philadelphia lawyer who brought the case, hopes to collect the money from frozen Iraqi, bin Laden and al-Qaida assets.

However, further court proceedings would be required before a payout could occur. And Beasley said it is unclear how much money would be available to satisfy the judgment. To help pay for Iraq's reconstruction, the Bush administration has started using roughly $1.7-billion in Iraqi money frozen in 1990.

Saudi Arabia says it has foiled terror attacks

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Saudi authorities have foiled plans by terrorists to carry out attacks in the kingdom and seized a large cache of weapons and explosives, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

Security forces seized the weapons Tuesday in the capital, Riyadh, as they were searching for suspects, a ministry official said.

The official said at least 19 men were being sought.

He said others also were being sought and their identities would be announced at the appropriate time. He did not disclose what the men were targeting in their terror plans.

Also . . .

MOUSSAOUI MUST TURN OVER NOTES: Terrorism suspect Zacarias Moussaoui was told Wednesday to turn in handwritten notes he scribbled during a rare instance when he saw secret documents with a judge's permission.

Moussaoui, who is representing himself and is not usually entitled to see classified documents, has to give his notes to a court-appointed defense team that is assisting him. The lawyers are cleared to see secret government records.

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