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Victims' families renew request for 9/11 records
January 14, 2004
Family members of some September 11 victims are appealing a court ruling sealing records from that day.
NEW YORK--Families of victims of the World Trade Center terrorist attack said Wednesday they will go back to court to find out more about the final hours of their relatives' lives on September 11, 2001.
"To this day, I have no information whatsoever about what happened to my son," Sally Regenhard, whose son was a firefighter, told reporters. "We need to know the truth. If we don't know what happened, we'll never be able to correct the shortcomings that allowed this to happen."
Her son was one of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives trying to help others caught in the twin towers of the World Trade Center after hijackers flew two jetliners into the buildings. At least 2,752 people died at Ground Zero in New York.
The group announced plans to ask the New York Court of Appeals to review a recent court decision that bars the release of certain documents related to the attack.
The group told reporters that all September 11 documents, including transcripts of internal fire department reviews and tapes of 911 calls, should be unsealed.
Family members complained that New York City officials cited the privacy of victims' families as a reason to keep the records sealed. Monica Gabrielle, who lost her husband in the World Trade Center and wants the documents released, called that "ludicrous and outrageous."
"I have not gotten one call to ask if I want the information released," she said.
But families of some of the 37 Port Authority police who were killed in the attack were upset by the release last August of transcripts of radio and telephone transmissions and handwritten notes made during and soon after the attack.
The group seeking the release of all records also criticized an arrangement New York City made with the federal commission investigating the terror attack that the families believe could leave transcripts sealed for years.
"If we don't prevail in this lawsuit it is likely that the American public will not have access to some of the historical records of 9/11 for at least 25 years," attorney Norman Siegel said.
Siegel, who represents the family members, said he will file his petition for review with the New York Court of Appeals later this month.
Last week, a state appellate court ruled that only portions of the review transcripts should be released. The appellate court also blocked the release of 911 tapes. The families had joined The New York Times in petitioning the court to unseal the documents.
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