The non-profit Becket Fund is putting pressure on the flying imams to drop John Doe whistleblowers from their discrimination lawsuit. Contrary to MSM reports (the Associated Press reported “Imams not suing flight passengers“), the citizen John Does are not off the hook. The Becket Fund has filed an amicus brief urging the court to dismiss the charges against the John Does:
Two weeks have passed since the attorney for the six imams removed from a US Airways flight in November 2006 stated on the record in court that the imams were not planning on suing any private passengers for reporting their suspicious activity in boarding that flight. However, the so called “John Does” remain in the imams’ proposed second amended complaint. Today The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty blasted that inclusion. Becket Fund President Kevin J. Hasson sent the imams’ attorney, Frederick J. Goetz, a draft notice of dismissal to release the John Does from the case. Hasson urged him to sign it, threatening further legal pressure if he did not.
On July 31, 2007, the Associated Press published an article with headline, “Imams not suing flight passengers”. In court that day, the Imams’ attorney was reported as saying “We don’t contemplate naming any private passenger as a defendant.” Yet the John Does still appear on page 6, named as defendants:
“Defendants ‘John Does’ were passengers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport who contacted U.S. Airways to report the alleged ‘suspicious’ behavior of Plaintiffs’ performing their prayer at the airport terminal on November 20, 2006.”
On August 1, the Becket Fund filed an amicus brief urging the court to dismiss the charges against the Does. The Becket Fund has also publicly offered to represent any John Does named in the complaint for free. Today’s letter is cc’d to the judge presiding over the case, as well as all lawyers involved in it, and calls for the imams to immediately dismiss all charges against the Does. “Now we’re making it easy for them; if they truly mean not to sue the passengers, all they have to do is sign on the dotted line,” said Hasson. “If, on the other hand, they refuse to formally drop the Does, it will be another sign that what they’re really up to is trying to intimidate future airline passengers from coming forward with their suspicions. That is outrageous and has nothing to do with religious liberty. And we will continue to fight them every step of the way.”
Here’s the text of the letter and dismissal notice.