Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Fighting a Saudi Billionaire in U.S. Court

On June 8, 2007, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals breathed vitality into Rachel Ehrenfeld’s case against Saudi billionaire Khaled bin Mahfouz--handing her extraordinary lawyer, Daniel Kornstein (and associates) an important victory--and establishing a legal precedent that henceforward affects every American writer and publisher.

In suing Mahfouz, Ehrenfeld asked the Federal Court to declare the default judgment against her obtained by bin Mahfouz in England's High Court---concerning details of his terror financing in her U.S.-published book, “Funding Evil”-- as unenforceable in the U.S., and contrary to the free speech protections Americans enjoy.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals overruled the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in requesting that New York’s highest state court determine whether Mahfouz should personally be subject to New York jurisdiction.

The Second Circuit’s decision went further, ruling that Ehrenfeld’s claim is “ripe,”--and therefore can be brought before a U.S. court. Thus, every American writer and publisher, finding themselves in a similar situation, can now seek a U.S. court decision.

When and if the New York Court of Appeals decides that there is jurisdiction over Mahfouz, the case would proceed on the merits. This would allow Ehrenfeld to take pre-trial “discovery” of Mahfouz’s financial activities to further confirm the accuracy of her reporting on him in “Funding Evil.” -----Stay tuned.

Your help to Ehrenfeld’s specially dedicated Legal Fund
is important! The American Center for Democracy is a tax- exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS.

Contributions can be made through the ACD website: - or by contacting Ehrenfeld directly at:

The case appeared as the lead story in New York Law Journal June 11 edition (below)
©2007 New York Law Journal Online
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