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9/11 Widow Faces Sanctions For Objecting To Judges Israeli Ties

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By Martin Hill
October 21, 2012


Ellen Mariani is relentless. Facing a lengthy labyrinth of complex and expensive legal hurdles, she is the only 9/11 widow who has refused to settle her case and is seeking to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mariani, whose husband Neil was killed in the 9/11 attacks, has also been threatened with legal sanctions for daring to file motions outlining the impartiality of the federal judge's Israeli connection in her case. After mentioning a serious "conflict of interest" on the part of Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the United States District Court Southern District of New York, Mariani faced a strong rebuke.

Mariani, along with her lawyer Bruce Leichty, were threatened with sanctions "in the form of double costs, for which Mariani and Leichty would be jointly and severally liable" and were condemned for "ad hominem attacks", "bombastic challenges to the integrity of the district court" and "deeply troubling personal slurs".

Mariani's April 19, 2012 brief noted, in part that "Judge Hellerstein and his wife Mildred are known to be active supporters of Israeli causes, and it is implausible that Judge Hellerstein would not at least be on inquiry notice of the affiliations of his son's law firm and the connections of his son's clients to Israeli and Israeli-linked defendants in a case before him, particularly in a case of the magnitude of the 911 case." It continued "It is not plausible that Judge Hellerstein, a highly-educated and connected supporter of Israeli causes, was unaware of the connections of his son's law firm."

Outlining some general facts of the case, the brief also stated "Federal Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein has presided over all of the proceedings arising out of the terrorist acts that beset the United States of America on September 11, 201 1, including but not limited to the crashing of United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, leading to the death of Appellant's husband Louis Neil Mariani. The effect of Judge Hellerstein's supervision and rulings has been that no trial has been held on any wrongful death or survivorship claim arising from any of the 9/11 plane crashes... Consistent with pressure exerted by Judge Hellerstein at numerous points, settlements have been sought and approved as to all claims made to date, and Mariani believes that her claim and the claim of her deceased husband's Estate--settlement of which was fashioned over her objection--are the only 9/11 claims not yet the subject of binding resolution by final nonappealable order."

On June 26, 2012, the court responded by stating, in part, "their briefs feature an escalating series of ad hominem attacks on opposing counsel and bombastic challenges to the integrity of the district court. All this has continued on appeal, culminating with Mariani's and Leichty's defiant motion to supplement the record, which supposedly identifies "newly discovered" - evidence of the district court's partiality, but is in fact nothing more than a vehicle for asserting deeply troubling personal slurs against Judge Hellerstein and his family."

In response to the court, Mariani's lawyer had to explain why he and his client should not be sanctioned. On July 5, 2012, Leichty wrote in part,

"I have practiced law in California for over 22 years. During that time I have never been sanctioned by any court, whether in California or elsewhere, and no court or tribunal has ever held that I filed a frivolous paper of any kind. I was shocked to see that the Second Circuit was threatening to impose double costs on me and my client, Ellen Mariani, for our good faith litigation of her claims. I was particularly shocked because Ellen has been through a lot--first she lost her husband in a national tragedy, and she has been pilloried for her insistence on finding out the truth of what happened on 9/11/2001, and she has had the misfortune of working with several disloyal or misguided attorneys, and she has had to subsist on Social Security and on the good graces of family. Now her meritorious arguments are ignored and discredited. Ellen has depended on my legal analysis and I have always given her my honest and candid assistance based on what I believed to be her best interests, both financially and otherwise. I would not depart from strict adherence to the law to do so, and I have never done so, and I have never had an improper motivation in this case, nor to cause delay for any tactical reason or to make any pretextual claim. There was no advantage for Ellen in pursuing this appeal unless it was victory. Ellen and I have both suffered financially through the long litigation of her claims without compensation. I have worked as Ellen Mariani's attorney for almost five (5) years. I prepared this declaration working closely with her, and she has reviewed it prior to my signing it. Ellen Mariani did not know what "law of the case" was until I explained it to her. Although I have come to see that she is a person of keen insight and intelligence, she has no formal legal training..." I do not know what the court is referring to when it talks about "ad hominem attacks" or slurs or attacks on the integrity of the District Court, but my claims about John Ransmeier's connections and Charles Capace's minimal contribution to the 9/11 litigation, and the failure of Ransmeier to have been prepared for trial, were all germane to the substance of Mrs. Mariani's claims regarding intervention and impropriety of settlement, and were "necessarily personalized, " and based on the record."

Mariani's former lawyer John Ransmeier filed a brief in support of the sanctions, stating in part

"The offensive and mean-spirited nature of the filing - particularly as it focused on Judge Hellerstein's wife- was only underscored by its gratuitous nature and lack of relevance to the key issue in the present appeal..." "Mrs. Mariani readily acknowledges her long-held belief that Judge Hellerstein had mismanaged the 9/11 litigation with a prejudice towards plaintiffs; that his colleague Sheila Birnbaum had placed improper pressure on plaintiffs to settle cases through a mediation process; and her concern about the effect of Judge Hellerstein's known sympathies for the State of Israel, which benefitted from the events of 9/11... Against this background, and considering the absence of relevance to the core issues on appeal, this filing was nothing more than an effort to impugn the integrity of the trial court, and to assault the character of the trial court judge and his family. In fact, it seems inconceivable that Mr. Leichty did not consider and accept his exposure to sanctions in making this filing."

The website, (also available at states "Ellen Mariani wants to take her appeal regarding 911 to the US Supreme Court but she needs our help." According to the website, they have collected $3,491 in funds but need $7,509 more to reach their goal of $11,000.

Vincent Gillespie, Secretary-Treasurer of the Ellen Mariani Legal Defense Fund, issued a news release on September 17th which stated, in part

"Embattled widow Ellen Mariani wants to tell the U.S. Supreme Court that the $3.75 million settlement of her late husband's 9/11 claims was tainted, and she has authorized a legal defense fund to allow her to carry on her decade-long fight, announced Mariani backers August 30 from Massachusetts. Mariani was the first person to sue airlines and airports for a 9/11 death--in Chicago federal court in early 2002. She was also one of the earliest family members to speak publicly about her doubts about the official 9/11 story. None of the remains of her husband Louis Neil Mariani, booked as a passenger on United Air Lines Flight 175, were ever returned to her. According to the official 9/11 story, Arab hijackers flew her husband's plane into the South Tower of the World Trade Center after slipping past airport security with box cutters--but Mariani doesn't buy it. At one time Mariani was persuaded to sue George W. Bush and other government officials for complicity in the events of 9/11, but that case was promptly dismissed. What remained to her--at least until late June 2012--was the chance to get evidence and accountability inside the official 9/11 wrongful death litigation that was assigned by Congress to a single federal court, the Southern District of New York, and a single judge, Alvin K. Hellerstein. No claim in that case ever reached trial, and Mariani's is the last to be paid."

The website also links to a petititon that supporters can sign. Craig McKee's September 21 article And then there was one: Supreme Court is the last hope for 9/11 widow Ellen Mariani gives more information about the case. Dr. Kevin Barrett recently interviewed Vincent Gillespie about the case. The October 12th episode can be downloaded for free here. Barret himself was forced out of the University of Wisconsin for speaking up about 9/11.

Ironically, Judge Hellerstein's son and his employer, the focus of the brief by Mariani, is tied to an Israeli company contracted to build remote controlled aircraft:

"Judge Hellerstein's son, Joseph Z. Hellerstein... was known to have been employed by the law firm Amit, Pollak, Matalon and Company, based in Tel Aviv, Israel."...
...Amit represents a defense aviation contractor who is a joint venturer (effectively a partner) with Boeing as of July 2010. Amit represents Aeronautics Defense Systems, an Israeli company which (according to its website) specializes in providing "comprehensive defense solutions [and has established itself as a primary global provider of security consulting services and defense applications," including with clients such as the Israeli Air Force and United States Navy. In July 2010 the relationship of Aeronautics and Boeing was formalized when Amit's client signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Boeing for marketing of the "Dominator DA42" unmanned aerial vehicle, i.e. a plane that can be flown by remote control...
....For at least 10 years Amit and CAC have co-sponsored or been featured at annual European investment conferences under the name "Go4Europe" featuring such luminaries as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and LCF Rothschild chairman Michel Cicurel...

See also:

9-11 Judge Hellerstein "Slams" 9-11 Widow Ellen Mariani

Is 9-11 Judge Hellerstein Working for Israel?

Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured on, WhatReallyHappened, Infowars, PrisonPlanet, National Motorists Association, WorldNetDaily, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 Los Angeles, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI 640, The Press Enterprise,,, FreedomsPhoenix, Rense, BlackBoxVoting, and many others. Archives can be found at


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Catholic paleo-libertarian from California., promotes limited government and civil liberties
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