More on Carla Martin, Moussaoui and the 9/11 Civil Litigation

The AP reports on the connection between Carla Martin and the 9/11 civil litigation, and posits that her motive was not to help win a conviction for the Government in Moussaui, but to aid the government's and airlines' defense in the civil ligitation. TalkLeft was the first to raise this theory -- three days ago.

It appears to me Ms. Martin was trying to coach and influence the witness' testimony not to convict Moussaoui, but to prevent the FAA from being found at fault in the civil litigation over 9/11. American and United are hoping for the same result -- hence her collaboration with their lawyers.

Don't forget to check out this letter attached to the defense objection to Judge Brinkema reconsidering Tuesday's ruling excluding the aviation witnesses and evidence. It was written by the plaintiff's lawyers in the 9/11 civil litigation to the New York Judge presiding in that case, and raises these concerns (Further explanation here.)

For a recap:

  • March 16, 2006 - Defense Files Objection to Reconsideration of Moussaoui Ruling
  • March 15, 2006 - Government Files for Reconsideration of Moussaoui Ruling
  • March 14, 2006 - Moussaoui Judge Bars FAA Witnesses, Allows Death Case to Proceed
  • March 14, 2006 - What Was Carla Martin's Agenda in Moussaoui?
  • March 13, 2006 - Moussaoui: Government Lawyer Identified
  • March 13, 2006 - Prosecutorial Misconduct Halts Moussaoui Trial
  • And on how the trial was on the ropes even before Carla Martin's conduct came to light:

  • March 9, 2006 - Moussaoui Judge Warns Prosecutors
  • Update: Reddhedd at Firedoglake weighs in.

    < Feds Won't Prosecute in Emmett Till Murder | Judge Issues Compromise Order on Moussaoui Aviation Evidence >
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    Re: More on Carla Martin, Moussaoui and the 9/11 C (none / 0) (#1)
    by Liberal Heart on Fri Mar 17, 2006 at 09:56:41 AM EST
    This is stomach-turning, if true. And isn't this true to form for the airlines when they're being sued? That the government would assist them in a case where that protect will actually harm the survivors of the attack that took their loved ones is shocking, even when considering all the other outrages we've seen in this admin's cozy relationships with business. The admin has used the attacks as the rallying cry for taking away our liberties and going to war against a country that didn't even have a role in the attacks, and now the poster children (and I mean that respectfully) for what kind of pain was wrought on that September day are hung out to dry. I'm so sickened by this, I'm trembling as I type.

    This is really sick - if this isn't squelched in the traditional media it should be as big as the port debacle on Main Street, no?

    Jerlyn Can you speculate on how this revelation might affect the civil trial? Presumably, the plaintiffs in the civil trial can subpoena these emails, which will effectively hurt the airlines' defense. Is that correct?

    Empty, I think that the airlines' law firms might try to quash any subpoenas by claiming work product privilege as to the emails that have not been disclosed and testimony surrounding the ones that have. As to whether they would succeed, I have no idea.

    Re: More on Carla Martin, Moussaoui and the 9/11 C (none / 0) (#5)
    by nolo on Fri Mar 17, 2006 at 12:03:46 PM EST
    Empty and Jeralyn, I think any claim of privilege (work product or otherwise) regarding the emails has been totally blown. If I can find them on the Internet, any claim of privilege is Gone (and, as a technical aside, no one's got to subpoena anyone to get them). As I've said before, the plaintiffs' attorneys are gonna have a field day with this stuff.

    Nolo....what about the emails that didn't make it to the court order or the internet? No work product privilege for those? For example, what if there is an e-mail from airline lawyer Christenson to his legal assistant Maia Selinger discussing why he wanted her to download the Moussaoui transcripts in the first place or send them on to Martin? I think there will be a battle over work product privilege in the civil cases.

    Re: More on Carla Martin, Moussaoui and the 9/11 C (none / 0) (#7)
    by nolo on Fri Mar 17, 2006 at 02:08:01 PM EST
    Oh, it's very possible that the plaintiffs' attorneys will try to get discovery of not-yet-disclosed communications relating to Carla Martin's emails, and that the defendants will fight it on various grounds. But think about this: I think it's hard to deny that the civil plaintiffs are entitled to inquire into whether Carla Martin's misconduct was part of the defendants' litigation strategy in the civil cases, and I imagine the trial court in the civil cases is going to want to know the answer to this question as well. If there are communications tending to indicate a plan to manipulate or manufacture evidence, I don't think they can be shielded from discovery by the work product doctrine. If there was no such systematic plan, that's another matter. But if I were one of the plaintiffs' attorneys in the civil case, I'd be arguing that the issue can't be resolved without submitting such communications to the court for in camera review, so that the court can satisfy itself as to whether the communications tend to show improper conduct. And I think a trial court is likely to be sympathetic to this approach. Either way, though, Carla Martin's already-disclosed emails are going to be devastating cross-examination fodder in the civil cases, whether or not anything else is ever disclosed.

    Jeralyn and nolo Thanks for the comments on the civil trial.

    Hmm...manufacturing evidence. I thought the euphemedia quick-bio of Carla Martin seemed a bit glossy so I took a look and found that a Carla J. Martin used to be Chief Clerk for Dan Burton's Gov. Reform committee. If it's the same one, she worked closely there with known-evidence-manufacturer David Bossie (Web Hubbel tapes) and chief "investigate-her" Barbara Comstock - currently collector of Scooter Libby's defense dollars. Perhaps Carla was even sent to buy the melons that Burton pretended were Vince Foster's head when he was trying to create evidence of murder by shooting them in his backyard.