A Manhattan judge awarded $6 billion to relatives of victims of the 9/11 attacks in a historic ruling Monday. The ruling for the first time imposes civil penalties on perpetrators of the heinous attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. Manhattan Federal Magistrate Judge Frank Maas ordered al-Qaida and co-conspirators Iran and the Taliban to pay $6 billion in punitive damages to 110 survivors and the estates of 47 victims that are parties to the lawsuit. The ruling is likely to result in attempts to seize Iranian state assets overseas, the New York Daily News reports.
"Now we have to go about the business of collecting this money both domestically and overseas," said attorney Thomas Mellon. "We are very hopeful that in the next six to 18 months we will be in the process of seizing Iranian assets, such as Iranian airlines, oil tankers and wells."
Successfully seizing Iranian assets based on U.S. court claims has proven challenging in other cases.
In another landmark ruling last December, Federal Judge George Daniels held that Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hizballah "materially aided and supported al Qaeda before and after the attacks." The ruling was backed by 53 pages of detailed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.