JASTA Kicks in as Relatives of 9/11 Victims Sue the Saudi Government

The families of more than 2,000 victims of terrorism have filed a civil lawsuit against the government of Saudi Arabia, hoping for restitution for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

The lawsuit follows the passing of the JASTA law permitting such lawsuits, which was vetoed by President Obama before his veto was overridden. 97 U.S. Senators voted to pass the bill, with just one voting against.

The plaintiffs argue that the Saudi kingdom had numerous links to the 9/11 plotters and had prior knowledge of terrorist activities.  The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York on Monday on behalf of 850 people who died and 1,500 injured on Sept. 11, 2001.

It is not publicly known if Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir and a visiting group of high-level Saudi government officials mentioned the JASTA law to President Trump when the group visited the White House last week for a lunch meeting.

Saudi Arabia has denied any role in the September 11 attacks and has never been formally implicated.

Top Saudi lobbying firm Qorvis MSLGROUP has been criticized recently for enabling U.S. military veterans to take all-expenses paid trips to Washington to have them lobby congress well after the bill’s passage. Qorvis MSLGROUP, however, allegedly failed to disclose to participants that the Saudi government was funding the trips, causing some veterans to speak out to the media and the subsequent embarrassment of the effort and the organizers behind it.