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In Delayed 2001 Attacks Case Fawcett Claim of 5th Amendment After Leaking Info Disposed of

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
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SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 28 – 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 29, 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:

in the 9/11 case  @SDNYLIVE , now proceeding about Fifth Amendment claim by Kreindler & Kreindler consultant John Fawcett for allegedly having leaked a copy of a deposition from the case against Saudi Arabia.

 Fawcett's lawyer: This is all about the Klein test.  [Klein v. Harris, 667 F.2d 274, 287 (2d Cir. 1981)]

Here the Court will not be relying on fact that prejudice a party. It will have Mr. Fawcett's admission but not finding a waiver, which 2d Cir cautions against

Fawcett's lawyer: My client is being called as a witness against himself. He has a right to say No. Magistrate Judge Netburn: He is standing by his incriminating statement, right? So the invocation, it's for another crime?

Fawcett's lawyer: He hasn't waived

 Saudi Arabia's lawyer: John Fawcett signed a declaration confessing to violate this court's protective order. He can't take it back and prevent cross examination.

 Now Saudi Arabia cites... Learned Hand, for the proposition that they should be able to question Fawcett about how a journalist got info on Saudi's role in 9/11 attacks.  Inner City Press editorial comment: They have may of making you talk. C.f. Jamal Khashoggi

 Judge Netburn: I'm prepared to rule from the bench. Yes, it's the Klein case's two prong test. And under that, the first prong is satisfied. The 2d, Fawcett argues this is different, the Court may make a referral to the US Attorney.

Fawcett's lawyer: We intend to write to Judge Daniels this evening. Would the court stay its order?

Judge Netburn: We have the hearing scheduled for Monday. Make your application quickly. Maybe it can be heard tomorrow.


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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