(CN) – Attorneys for a woman who filed a Sept. 11 conspiracy lawsuit against members of the Bush administration have been sanctioned and fined for filing a frivolous appeal and for accusing the court of being too emotional about the terrorist attacks to render a decision.
April Gallop alleged in her initial complaint that a plane did not hit the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, but that a bomb had been detonated instead, and members of the government knew about the attack in advance. The 2nd Circuit in Manhattan upheld a federal judge’s dismissal of the case after finding that Gallop had “failed to present anything beyond vague and conclusory allegations of conspiracy.”
In the April 2011 ruling, the three-judge panel ordered Gallop and her attorneys to show cause as to why they should not be sanctioned for forcing the court “to consider, and the government to defend, a frivolous and vexatious appeal.”
In response, Gallop’s attorneys – Dennis Cunningham, Mustapha Ndanusa and William Veale – called for the panel to be disqualified because of “evident severe bias, based in active personal emotions arising from the 9/11 attack.”
“The response of Gallop and her attorneys to our April 27, 2011 order to show cause fails to demonstrate that this appeal was anything but frivolous,” the court said Friday. “Like other papers submitted by Gallop and her team of attorneys in this appeal, the response presents only irrelevant information in a jarringly disorganized manner, united solely by its consistently patronizing tone.”
The court’s latest decision orders Gallop’s three attorneys to pay the government double costs, plus $15,000 in damages. Veale, who signed the motion to disqualify, also must disclose his sanction record before appearing in any court within the 2nd Circuit over the next year.
His supporting affidavit had said that, once the jurists recused themselves for bias, “any other members of the bench of this circuit who share their feelings” should do the same.
“The affidavit was also peppered with disdainful and unsubstantiated conclusions about the panel members’ emotional stability and competence to serve objectively,” according to the unsigned opinion. It alleged “that the court had engaged in a ‘rank, dishonest wielding of ordained power,’ and that the participation of one member in particular was so egregious that it ‘would or should provoke a congressional investigation.'”
Gallop was not sanctioned in part because she is not an attorney and because the record reveals she “did not spearhead her litigation strategy.” The court warned that it would not look favorably on any “future frivolous filings, either as a pro se litigant or one represented by counsel.”
Cunningham, a San Francisco attorney, faces a separate sanction because he has asserted authorship of Gallop pleadings. Veale is based in Walnut Creek, Calif., and Ndanusa is based in Brooklyn, N.Y.