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In Delayed 2001 Attacks Case Fawcett Claim of 5th Amendment After Leak Rejected by District Judge

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
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SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 29 – In ongoing lawsuit "In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001," originally filed in 2003, the COVID 19 pandemic of 2020 continues to cause a pause, one being used by the Saudi defendants, it emerged at a telephone conference with some 300 attendees on May 21, 2020. Inner City Press covered it, below.

 Jump cut forward to September 29, 2021 when
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn held a telephone conference with Dubai Islamic Bank and others, about experts. Inner City Press live tweeted it, here.

On Thursday October 28, before a Monday hearing, John Fawcett's right to now invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid questions about his leak of information from the case was taken up, and disposed of, by Judge Netburn. Inner City Press live tweeted here.

Now on October 29, District Judge George B. Daniels heard argument then upheld Magistrate Judge Netburn and rejected the invocation of the Fifth Amendment. Inner City Press live tweeted here:

OK - in the 9/11 case  @SDNYLIVE , now 2d proceeding in 2 day about 5th Amendment claim by Kreindler & Kreindler's John Fawcett for allegedly having leaked a copy of a deposition from the case against Saudi Arabia.

 Yesterday Magistrate Judge Netburn shot down Fawcett's use of Fifth Amendment at Monday's hearing, here. 

But they've gotten a quick re-hearing before District Judge George B. Daniels. He asks about the Klein test.

Fawcett's lawyer: Now that the Court is considering a criminal referral, there are new grounds for apprehension.

Judge Daniels: If there were no new grounds, would he have any basis to not testify? Fawcett's lawyer: Yes, the first - Judge: I read the transcript.

 Judge Daniels: Didn't he already understand that if he violated the court order and admitted to it, he might face criminal contempt?

Fawcett's lawyer: He's a non-lawyer. Judge Daniels: I'm supposed to assume that when he submitted the 2d affidavit he didn't know?

 Judge Daniels: It's like a Perry Mason moment - he breaks down and confesses, then says, Perry Mason can't ask me any more question while I'm on the stand.

 Judge Daniels says again and again Fawcett can't invoke the Fifth. Annoying beeping on the line.

Judge Daniels: I believe Magistrate Judge Netburn was right in denying the invocation of the Fifth Amendment by Mr. Fawcett

From May 21, 2020: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn initially had some technical issues with her computer, which she described as from the era computers were first invented. But then things got going.

lawyer is telling SDNY Mag Judge Netburn that some Saudi diplomats' immunity was revoked. Judge says it's not fair to ask State to review immunity given 20 years ago.

Next a defense lawyer described a case where a person associated with the Morocco mission to the UN was granted diplomatic immunity by the U.S. State Department in an email, he says that's enough.

 Turns out that a man named Awad who on 9/11 worked in "Islamic Affairs" at the Saudi mission has suddenly retired the day after he was listed as a witness.

Next Saudi Arabia said they can't make him testify, he's retired.

   It reached 1:26 pm and the 9/11 case hearing was still going, with the lawyer for Saudi Arabia saying his - or his client's? - integrity is being besmirched by allegations they "early retired" people on the plaintiffs' witness list.

 Judge Netburn said, I don't think the question is whether the witnesses are aligned with Kingdom or adverse to it.

 A plaintiffs' lawyer said, The case I cited says "or with adversary."

  Judge Netburn: I think we've exhausted questions about former officials. Let's take a break. And they did. Inner City Press will continue on the case.

As Inner City Press has reported, the SDNY has moved to video sentencings, and defense attorney laptop links to their clients in the MCC from the Attorneys Lounge of 500 Pearl Street.   

Of such criminal cases, Judge Netburn remarked, something called CourtConnect is being used. I'm inclined to use it, since I think the earliest we could get together would be mid June and quite possibly later. Next week Ramadan begins which would have delayed depositions anyway.

One of the plaintiffs' lawyers Steve Pounian said, The families are willing to have a delay because of this exception circumstance, in order to get the depositions they need, in person. There's language, demeanor...

      Another plaintiffs' lawyers, Sean Carter, said We have doubts about Saudi Arabia's allegations, that they have diplomatic immunity, that some people are senior officials.

     Pounian followed up: We took a deposition in March under the written question procedure. Now we're going to file a motion.

     Carter resumed, We were told last week the FBI is looking for some additional documents. I don't want to put Sarah Normand on the spot--

   Ms. Norman confirmed, The FBI is also slowed. We'd hoped to have all of the records, but because of tele-working, and the documents being on classified systems, that work has stopped during the pandemic.  

  Judge Netburn asked, Does the Kingdom want to be heard?    The Saudis' lawyer offered, We're willing to use CourtConnect. 

 Judge Netburn opined, The reviews are not great. 

  We'll see: there may be a video conference in May, presumptively public. Inner City Press notes that in this case, Docket Item 6122, Motion for Conference dated April 14, 2020, says "You do not have permission to view this document." The case is In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, 03-md-1570 (Daniels / Netburn).


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