Last-minute donation keeps hope alive for 9/11 widow’s appeal

By Craig McKee

With a week to go, things didn’t look good. But what a difference a few days can make. Ellen Mariani, whose husband died on 9/11, will have her request for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court considered after all. A fundraising effort was launched in September to raise the $11,000 needed to file the application to appeal – and the effort has succeeded.

With just a few days to go to the Nov. 1 deadline, the fund had barely reached the halfway point, but an article on the web site of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth brought an increase in donations,

pushing the effort closer to reaching its goal (my September article on Mariani’s fundraising effort can be found here.

But in the end it was a very generous donation of several thousand dollars by an unnamed individual from Pennsylvania that put the fundraising effort over the top. Two other offers had been extended that would also have seen the goal met – one from Canada and the other from The Netherlands – but these turned out not to be necessary.

Vincent Gillespie, the secretary treasurer of the Ellen Mariani Legal Defense Fund, issued a statement today thanking those who donated to the Fund (donations were received from a number of countries in addition to the U.S.: Canada, Italy, Australia, Austria, Germany, the UK, Switzerland, and The Netherlands.

Gillespie reports that Mariani’s lawyer, Bruce Leichty, is already at work on the brief called a Petition for Writ of Certiorari, which must be submitted to the court by Nov. 23.  Based on the brief, the Supreme Court will either agree to hear Mariani’s appeal of decisions by lower courts or they will decline it (by the court’s rules, the reason for the Supreme Court appeal must be compelling).

If the petition is declined, it will be the end of the line for Mariani’s effort to pursue the truth about 9/11 in a courtroom.

Mariani’s husband, Louis Neil Mariani, was a passenger on Flight 175, which is alleged to have hit the south tower of the World Trade Center. Ellen Mariani was the first family member to file suit for wrongful death, and she is the only one still fighting. Other victims’ family members have either settled their suits or dropped them altogether.

Mariani has had every obstacle imaginable thrown in her way as she has fought for a wrongful death judgment in the courts. She has had to deal with dishonest lawyers who had conflicts of interest and a judge whose job it appears to be to keep any wrongful death suit from ever being heard in a court of law.

She lost control of her own suit in 2004 when, John Ransmeier, the lawyer for her husband’s daughter, was able to take control the estate. Ellen Mariani’s fight over the past few years has been to regain standing in the lawsuit and to have the estate pursue the wrongful death claim. She is also asking for compensation for her loss. Mariani is collecting Social Security and barely getting by while she pursues this.

She could have had a sizable settlement had she been willing to drop her case early on, but she maintained all along that her goal was to find the truth about what happened to her husband that day. There was a $3.75-million settlement reached with the estate after Ellen lost control but she has seen none of the money. She is also challenging this settlement, which was reached against her wishes.

Thanks to a gag order imposed on Mariani and her lawyer by the New Hampshire probate court, she can’t talk about the case publicly. The 9/11 family members who accepted settlements also had to sign non-disclosure clauses, which have the same effect as gag orders.

The next step is for Leichty to submit the Petition for Writ by Nov. 23, and then it’s a question of waiting for a decision on whether the Supreme Court will hear the appeal. If it’s no, then the case is over, but if it’s yes, history will be made.

For more information about Ellen Mariani’s legal efforts to get to the truth of 9/11, check out Other good background can be found on journalist Christopher Bollyn’s site (