The Act provides funding for intelligence-related activities and established an independent, bi-partisan agency called The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the "Kean Commission") to investigate the circumstances surrounding the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Although some findings in the Report and related Kean Commission documents arguably favor the plaintiffs more than the aviation defendants, the plaintiffs opposed the aviation defendants' motion and requested that it be denied in its entirety.
After briefly discussing the scope of the Kean Commission's investigation and the development of the Report, staff statements and monographs, this paper examines the factors governing the admissibility of public records under FRE 803(8)(C) and the Rainey Doctrine and considers whether the Report and related documents satisfy the public records exception to the hearsay rule.
Kean, (14) former governor of New Jersey and, until July 2005, the president of Drew University, the Kean Commission reviewed more than 2 million documents, including classified national security documents containing Sensitive Security Information ("SSI"), interviewed more than thousand individuals in several countries, and took live testimony from many public officials and numerous experts from business and academia at open hearings.
Even if relevant, the Kean Commission documents still constitute hearsay and are inadmissible absent some exception to the hearsay rule.
Analysis of the Court's Opinion and Order on the Admissibility of the Kean Commission Report, Staff Statements and Monographs
In April 2008, the aviation defendants in the 9/11 litigation moved for a pretrial ruling that the Kean Commission Report, Aviation Monograph, and certain staff statements contain relevant evidence not excluded by the hearsay rule and thus are admissible at trial in their entirety.
In their opposition to the aviation defendants' motion, the plaintiffs argued that the monographs and staff statements ate interim reports of the Kean Commission staff rather than the Commission and therefore do not fall under the hearsay exception of FRE 803(8)(C).
(48) First, the court rejected the plaintiffs' argument that the Report is inadmissible in the 9/11 trials because the Commission's investigation focused on government conduct and not the conduct of the aviation defendants, finding that the Kean Commission's investigation encompassed commercial aviation and that even if the issues involved in the 9/11 litigation were only peripheral to the Kean Commission's purpose, the admissibility of its Report might not be affected.