A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) [official website] Friday dismissed 49 terrorism lawsuits, including five cases against relatives of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden [JURIST news archives], citing lack of evidence. Judge George Daniels dismissed claims against four half-brothers and a nephew of bin Laden, holding that the prosecution lacked evidence [AFP report] to support the relatives' involvement in al Qaeda operations surrounding the 9/11 attacks [JURIST news archive]. The claims were brought seven years ago by the families of victims who died in the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001.
As the "Ground Zero" federal district court, the SDNY has dealt with a wide variety of issues resulting from the 9/11 attacks. Last week, SDNY Judge Alvin Hellerstein approved a $712.5 million settlement [JURIST report] between New York City and the 10,000 rescue and cleanup workers who became sick or injured from responding to the 9/11 attacks. The most severe injuries, most of which are asthma-related, could garner more than $1 million in compensation for a client. In April US Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile] announced that the government has not ruled out prosecuting certain high-profile 9/11 suspects [JURIST report], including alleged 9/11 conspirator Khalid Sheikh Mohammad [BBC profile] in the SDNY.