9/11 airline trial to focus on specifics of intel failures

July 28, 2011 03:12


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NEW YORK - The US judge overseeing the only wrongful death trial stemming from the Sept. 11 attacks said he will not let jurors hear a broad recounting of intelligence failures that preceded the terrorist strikes.

During a marathon court hearing in Manhattan on Wednesday, US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said he will limit courtroom debate to specific events concerning the defendants in the case against United Airlines, a unit of United Continental Holdings Inc .

The trial, slated for November, stems from a 2002 lawsuit by the family of Mark Bavis, who perished when United Airlines Flight 175 slammed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. It is the only wrongful-death lawsuit of dozens filed after the attacks to make it to trial, as settlements were reached in most others.

"I don't envision this trial as just a recitation of all that happened on 9/11," Hellerstein said to a crowded courtroom. "We're not here to try the FBI, the CIA and the FAA. We're here to determine whether the airline and Huntleigh were negligent."

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