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Judge Restricts Evidence in 9/11 Trial

Posted Oct 18, 2007 10:29 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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People who received calls from passengers aboard a flight that crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11 will not be allowed to testify in a suit by one of the victims.

Judge Alvin Hellerstein of New York ruled evidence that is too speculative or sensational should be excluded from next month’s trial against American Airlines and other defendants, the New York Times reports. The parents of Dr. Paul Wesley Ambrose, an adviser to the office of the surgeon general, chose to sue for damages in their son’s death instead of participating in a victims’ compensation fund.

Hellerstein also barred testimony from former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop about Ambrose's future job prospects, possibly as surgeon general or in other major policy-making positions. Nor would the judge allow testimony about a note from another victim found at the crash site, photographs of body parts, or testimony by a Pentagon burn victim.

The ruling could quicken the pace of settlements in 16 other pending cases against the airline, the Times says.

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