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Families of 2 Trade Center Victims Name Bin Laden, Cohorts in Suits

November 28, 2001|Associated Press

NEW YORK — As the hunt for Osama bin Laden continues in Afghanistan, the families of at least two victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are suing him and his cohorts to tap into millions of dollars in frozen terrorist assets.

"It's a way to fight back," said Jim Beasley, whose Philadelphia law firm filed both wrongful-death cases in federal court here.

Some legal experts, though, question the timing of the litigation and its odds of success.

One of the suits was filed Nov. 15 by the estate of business analyst George Eric Smith. The other was filed in October on behalf of an unidentified widow. Both men died in the World Trade Center attacks.

The lawsuits name Bin Laden, his Al Qaeda terrorist network and Afghanistan's Taliban regime. The Treasury Department has said that more than $56 million in Taliban and Al Qaeda assets have been frozen here and abroad.

Beasley said the lawsuits give families a sense that they are doing something to honor and remember the victims.

James Kreindler, a New York lawyer, said he supports litigation against Bin Laden and any accomplices, but that it should wait until all of those responsible for the attacks are identified. "There's still a lot we don't know," he said.

Of the chances of success, Beasley said: "I think we've got a good shot."

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