Sen. Bob Menendez for months has been working with all of the plaintiff groups to ensure that the approximately $2.5 billion in Iranian blocked assets located in New York are available, his communications director said.
But Cochran and a lawyer for the Marine barracks side had disagreed, saying the DLA Piper attorneys were setting up a multiyear legal challenge for the Iranian money on behalf of their clients.
Lynn Smith Derbyshire, a spokeswoman for the victims of the Beirut bombing, said she fears she could now get nothing after losing her brother, Vincent Smith, in the attack.
“The main thing is to take the money away from the government of Iran,” she said. “To have the tables turned this way, to be in a position that maybe we’ll get nothing or very, very little, I don’t even have words for it.”
A spokeswoman for Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who authored section 503, said her boss had been working to make sure all victims would have access to the money.
Menendez “for months has been working with all of the plaintiff groups to ensure that the approximately $2.5 billion in Iranian blocked assets located in New York are available,” Tricia Enright, Menendez’ communications director, said in an email.
Steven Perles, founder of the Perles Law Firm, which represents the Marine barracks side, said Menendez was stuck between groups of plaintiffs.
The Senator “had nothing but good intentions ... and nobody deserves to be in this position,” Perles said.
The DLA Piper lawyer said the Senate bill is fine. Even including punitive damages, his Khobar Towers clients would be entitled to only $600 million, he said. “The Marine barracks people are entitled to a much larger amount than we are,” he said.
The lawyer added that the only reason his side hasn’t signed an agreement with the Marine barracks attorneys is because that side won’t agree to not try to “slip something into a conference version.”
Perles said the feuding among the families isn’t a good sign.
“My observation over the years is that when terror victims squabble in public like they’re doing now, they end up getting nothing,” he said.
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