A US judge has rejected Saudi Arabia's bid to dismiss lawsuits claiming that it helped plan the September 11 attacks in 2001 and should pay billions of dollars in damages to victims.
In Manhattan, US District Judge George Daniels on Wednesday said the plaintiffs' allegations "narrowly articulate a reasonable basis" for him to assert jurisdiction over Saudi Arabia under the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), a 2016 federal law.
The Saudi government has long denied involvement in the attacks in which hijacked airplanes crashed into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon outside Washington, DC, and a Pennsylvania field. Nearly 3,000 people died.
Daniels' decision covers claims by the families of those killed, roughly 25,000 people who suffered injuries, and many businesses and insurers.
Saudi Arabia had long had broad immunity from Sept 11 lawsuits in the United States. That changed in September 2016, when the US Congress overrode President Barack Obama's veto of JASTA, allowing such cases to proceed.
James Kreindler, a lawyer for many of the plaintiffs, said he was "delighted" the case can proceed.
“We have been pressing to proceed with the case and conduct discovery from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, so that the full story can come to light, and expose the Saudi role in the 9/11 attacks," he said in a phone interview.