Oct. 17, 2012

By Vincent Gillespie, Secretary-Treasurer of the Ellen Mariani Legal Defense Fund

Editor’s Note: 9/11 widow Ellen Mariani, one of the four family members featured in 9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out, has challenged the official story in the U.S. court system for over a decade, and this could be her last chance to get a civil trial for the murder of her husband Louis. She needs to raise $11,000 by November 1 so that her legal team can make its final effort to re-open her lawsuit and present it to the Supreme Court. You can donate to her legal fund and find out more about the case at www.marianilawsuit.com.

Ellen Mariani lost her husband, Louis Neil Mariani, when Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower on 9/11, and she hasn’t given up the fight for justice since that tragic day

Embattled widow Ellen Mariani wants to tell the U.S. Supreme Court that the $3.75 million settlement of her late husband’s 9/11 claims was tainted, and she has authorized a legal defense fund to allow her to carry on her decade-long fight, announced Mariani backers August 30 from Massachusetts.

Mariani was the first person to sue airlines and airports for a 9/11 death–in Chicago federal court in early 2002. She was also one of the earliest family members to speak publicly about her doubts about the official 9/11 story. None of the remains of her husband Louis Neil Mariani, booked as a passenger on United Air Lines Flight 175, were ever returned to her. According to the official 9/11 story, Arab hijackers flew her husband’s plane into the South Tower of the World Trade Center after slipping past airport security with box cutters–but Mariani doesn’t buy it.

At one time Mariani was persuaded to sue George W. Bush and other government officials for complicity in the events of 9/11, but that case was promptly dismissed.

What remained to her–at least until late June 2012–was the chance to get evidence and accountability inside the official 9/11 wrongful death litigation that was assigned by Congress to a single federal court, the Southern District of New York, and a single judge, Alvin K. Hellerstein. No claim in that case ever reached trial, and Mariani’s is the last to be paid.

“ Mariani was the first person to sue airlines and airports for a 9/11 death — in Chicago federal court in early 2002. She was also one of the earliest family members to speak publicly about her doubts about the official 9/11 story. ”

Judge Hellerstein has presided over hundreds of cases involving 9/11 victims in Manhattan, and all have resulted in settlements for undisclosed amounts. Hellerstein took an active role in urging settlement, stating at one point, “Money is the universal lubricant.”

Meanwhile, Mariani and her attorney Bruce Leichty have been repeatedly rebuffed by Hellerstein, say Mariani’s backers, and have now been rebuked by a two-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. They were “ordered to show cause” why they should not pay money sanctions to their adversaries after they submitted extensive documentation of Hellerstein’s connections with three key defendants in the 9/11 litigation, Boeing Corporation and security companies ICTS and its U.S. subsidiary Huntleigh. In an April 2012 motion, submitted on the eve of appellate argument, Mariani showed that Hellerstein’s son Joseph, a lawyer in Israel, had client relationships with affiliates and joint ventures of these same three defendants.

That was on top of her earlier showing to Hellerstein that the plaintiff who took over her New York federal court claims in 2004, John Ransmeier, was then representing United Air Lines at the same time he was purporting to settle the Mariani 9/11 claims with United and Huntleigh and their insurers, notes James Phillips, a retired attorney and a former Marine Corps officer. Phillips is a long-time 9/11 truth advocate who is not involved in the case.

“These filings were controversial but quite relevant and well-presented,” said Phillips. “One of Ellen’s main interests has been about getting beyond the stage-managing of the 9/11 proceedings, about getting behind the superficial appearance that the 9/11 legal process is working in the public interest, but that’s obviously not possible when a court is turning a blind eye to conflicts of interest.”

The Supreme Court is now her only hope for 9/11 truth, he says, but “she and her litigation team have exhausted their resources and can’t go to the Supreme Court without help.”

Phillips says he has long been interested in the case based on his acquaintance with some of Mariani’s backers, who have followed proceedings in her probate court case in New Hampshire where the Estate of Louis Neil Mariani was opened after 9/11, and subsequently hearings in New York, where Mariani’s case was transferred from federal court in Chicago. Ellen Mariani was the first administrator of her deceased husband’s estate, but was essentially forced out in favor of a supposedly neutral successor based on complaints of attorneys for her step daughter and based on dubious counsel of prior New Hampshire counsel after Ellen began her quest for 9/11 truth.

Mariani argued in her latest filing that she should be permitted to re-enter her case as an intervener based on the divided loyalties of her fiduciary, and also to challenge Ransmeier’s settlement since it directly affected her. Her court papers reveal that she didn’t discover that John Ransmeier was not a neutral fiduciary until after a previous attempt to intervene in 2007.

The papers reveal that Ransmeier was proposing to settle the case without any accountability, and without honoring her personal spousal loss claim, even though Ransmeier’s law firm had been representing United Air Lines and other interested parties without disclosure during the same time he was litigating against them and then settling with them.

Hellerstein and the 2nd Circuit both rejected Mariani’s first attempt at intervention, although the 2nd Circuit also confirmed that she could object to any settlement presented to Hellerstein; however, in June 2012 a different two-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit ruled that Mariani should have known she could no longer intervene to challenge the settlement, and threatened to impose money sanctions on her and attorney Leichty (the outcome of that threat is pending at the time of this news release).

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