Legal Ethics

‘Fantastical’ 9/11 Lawsuit Could Lead to Sanctions for Lawyer, 2nd Circuit Says


Updated: A onetime Pentagon worker and her lawyer who alleged in a suit that the Sept. 11 attacks were arranged or allowed by U.S. leaders could face sanctions as a result of their appeal.

In an opinion (PDF) issued on Wednesday, the New York City-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order to show cause why sanctions should not be imposed. The case had been argued only three weeks before. The court said the complaint was frivolous and affirmed dismissal, calling the suit a “fantastical alternative history.”

The plaintiff, April Gallop, said she was working at the Pentagon with her infant son on the day of the attacks, and both sustained head and brain injuries from the collapse of the building’s ceiling and walls. She alleges the Pentagon was destroyed, not by a plane crash, but possibly by a missile or explosives on the orders of U.S. leaders, the appeals court said. According to the opinion, she claimed the conspiracy was motivated by a desire to create a political atmosphere where officials could pursue their policy objectives and to conceal trillions of dollars in defense misappropriations.

The suit named as defendants former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials.

“The courts have no obligation to entertain pure speculation and conjecture,” the 2nd Circuit said. In this case, the appeals court said, the plaintiff advanced inconsistent theories, including that the defendants may have ordered explosives to be planted in the Pentagon, may have hired Muslims extremists to carry out the attacks, may have used Muslims as dupes or patsies, or may have fired a missile into the Pentagon. Nor did the plaintiff cite any facts to support a conspiracy among the defendants, according to the opinion.

Gallop’s lawyer is identified as William Veale of Walnut Creek, Calif. A website called Lawyers for 9/11 Truth identified Veale as a former instructor of criminal trial practice at the University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall law school, and a former assistant public defender for Contra Costa County.

In an interview with the ABA Journal, Veale said opinions by the appeals panel and then-U.S. District Judge Denny Chin were “both entirely, in all due respect, dishonest. They didn’t mention half of what we presented to them in the complaint. They simply disregarded mountains of evidence.”

In a prior affidavit (PDF), Veale cited “considered support” in the scientific and scholarly communities for the theory that the Sept. 11 attacks were at least partly an inside job.

He elaborated in an interview, urging us to mention what he sees as two pieces of key evidence. The first: One of the substances found at Ground Zero has been used in controlled demolitions, he said. The second: Cheney told a subordinate before the attack on the Pentagon that the “orders still stand.” That direction, according to Veale, was not an order to shoot down the plane. Instead, he claims, it was an order allowing the Pentagon to be attacked.

“You have a job here,” Veale told the ABA Journal, “and I hate to lecture you on your job. … But you’ve got to get up to speed where you at least mention the important things.”

In a phone call to the ABA Journal, Gallop said she was not sure why the government failed to stop the attack on the Pentagon, but the dismissal of the lawsuit means she won’t get a chance to learn more. She felt the court gave short shrift to her complaint and focused too much on whether Veale was indeed a lawyer.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

Updated on April 30 to add information from Gallop.

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