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Lawyers for Mohammed Al Fayed Announce Lawsuit Against U.S. Government in Crash Killing Dodi, Princess DianaAired August 30, 2000 - 10:00 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to start this hour with the latest chapter on the car crash that killed Princess Diana and two others three years ago tomorrow.
The father of Dodi Fayed, the man who died in the car crash alongside Princess Diana, held a news conference minutes ago. It happened during our interview with George W. Bush. Lawyers representing Mohammed Al Fayed announced their plans to file a lawsuit forcing the United States to release documents related to the death. The news conference began as we were in our interview with Mr. Bush, so now we're going to start the tape on that interview -- on the news conference and show it to you in its entirety.
MARK ZAID, ATTORNEY FOR MOHAMMED AL FAYED: Good morning. I'd like to first welcome you all here and apologize for the cramped quarters. We knew there was obviously an interest in the tragedy three years ago, but didn't necessarily expect this much interest. So I definitely apologize for that.
My name is Mark Zaid. I'm an attorney here in Washington, D.C. with the law firm of Lobel, Novans and LaMonte (ph). I'm representing Mohammed Al Fayed.
I'm privileged to have accompanying me, to my immediate left, John McNamara, who is the chief of security for Mr. al Fayed and Harrods, and to his left, Ian Burton, who is one of Mr. al Fayed's British solicitors. The three of us will present our information to you today and in due course over the next hour, most likely.
Let me first say a few words of introduction before we get into some of the video footage. I do have written information up on the table. Obviously, don't come up now if you don't have it, and -- but you're more than welcome to get it, as well as some video footage that we will try and make available if we ran out of copies.
Anyone who has lost a child or knows someone who has knows full well the pain and torment that that individual goes through no matter the age of the child, whether it was as a young child or as an adult child. Having represented Pan Am 103 families for a number of years and, as well, the family of the young girl killed in Washington, D.C. at Dupont Circle by a drunk driver of the Georgian government, I've seen -- luckily not firsthand -- but seen through the torture of my clients what that pain has been. That is a great deal of what we have here today.
As you know, three years ago tomorrow will be the third anniversary of the death of Princess Diana, Dodi al Fayed and their chauffeur, Henri Paul. From that time, Mohammad Al Fayed has suffered as every other parent has or would. It has been compounded by the fact that the tragedy was so public and further compounded by the fact that there are questions unanswered, issues unresolved, which has left him at a loss both in his heart and in his mind.
We're hoping what we're going to announce today will lead to some closure for Mr. Al Fayed and the public at large, because Princess Diana's death, of course, did not just impact on Great Britain, where she was a loyal subject, but across the world, and especially embraced by us here in the United States.
Tomorrow, and which is the primary purpose of this press conference, we will be filing a civil lawsuit in the U.S. district court for the District of Columbia against the United States government. Named as defendants will be such agencies as the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the departments of Defense, Justice and State, the United States Secret Service, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, as well as part of the Department of Justice, the Executive Office of the United States Attorneys.
The lawsuit is designed to obtain information. It is filed under the Freedom of Information Act, or will be, designed to gain information not only in a documentary format, but audiotapes, photographs, satellite imagery, if they exist.
I will go into more detail in a few moments, the exact scope and desire of the lawsuit. But before I do that, I'd like for you to hear from Mr. Al Fayed himself, who has filmed a video statement just for this occasion. Obviously this is a matter in which he would have liked to have appeared before you publicly, but there are reasons, for which I think you'll understand, he was not able to be here today.
And I will play that for you now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMMED AL FAYED: Good morning, everyone. My regards from London. I would have liked to have been here today in person to address you, but the anniversary of the tragic event of the 31st of August, 1997 that took the lives of my son and Princess Diana is too painful for me to speak in public.
My lawyers and director of security are representing my views today and appealing to the American government and the citizens to assist me in my search for the truth, for there are agencies of the United States of America that possesses documents which may provide vital information as to the cause of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and my beloved son, Dodi. They refuse to release many of them on the basis that they would jeopardize national security. I can't understand that this, Diana and my son Dodi, can cause any national security danger. I believe they are withholding some of the documents at the request of the British Secret Service, who cannot afford to let the truth be known because they know exactly where the truth lies.
I have always, respected by my state, believed in freedom of speech. Without these documents, this flagrant breach of all that the American democratic system stands for, and appealing for the support of the American people to help me obtain justice and to learn all the facts that are surrounding the death of my son and Princess Diana. I know that Princess Diana touched the hearts of the American people, as she did mine, and certainly that of my son.
How can you help me? Please write to your congressional representatives and President Clinton and ask them to disclose the information held by the United States government agencies, such as the CIA, NSA and the Department of Defense and Justice. Your efforts can help in the truth be revealed. And that is a quest we all share, no matter where we are from. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAID: We also have a detailed written statement that I'm going to have read by John McNamara, Al Fayed's chief of security. Copies of the statement are also available. If you haven't received it, wait till the end.
Let me just say one other housekeeping: If you have any questions, please hold them till the end. We will entertain your questions for a significant period of time. Thanks.
JOHN MCNAMARA, HARRODS DIR. OF SECURITY: Good morning, everyone. This is a statement from Mr. Al Fayed that he would have spoken to you about himself had he been here today. I'll just read it to you.
"Three years ago..."
QUESTION: Pull down your mike.
MCNAMARA: Sorry. How's that?
"Three years ago on 31st of August, 1997, I lost my beloved son Dodi and dear friend Diana, Princess of Wales, in a tragic event in Paris, France. The car crash that took the lives of these two lovely people has been portrayed as a traffic accident caused by a drunk driving at high speed. The reality is that it was murder.
"The person portrayed as the drunk driver was Henri Paul, the second in charge of security at the Ritz Paris Hotel. According to reputable sources, Henri Paul spent at least three years in the employ of MI6. That's the British intelligence service.
"We have forensic proof, which has been submitted to the court of appeal in Paris, that the blood sample upon which the French are relying to prove that Henri Paul was drunk, in fact, contained over 21 percent of carbon monoxide. This seriously calls into question whether the blood was his, because Henri Paul died instantly upon impact and could not have breathed in the noxious fumes.
"The statement issued by the French authorities that Henri Paul was three times over the legal limit was issued within 36 hours of the crash and even before his body samples had even been analyzed.
"This is but one example of the disinformation being disseminated, which I believe has been orchestrated by the British security services in their attempt to cover up the truth.
"Since that tragic day three years ago, I have not rested in my search for the truth: From the irrefutable facts which have been uncovered it is clear to me that evil and racist forces, working through the British security services, murdered my son and Princess Diana.
"MI6 is controlled by the establishment of the United Kingdom. They answer ultimately to the royal household, which could never have accepted my son, a naturally tan curly haired Egyptian, being married to the mother of the future king of England and becoming his stepfather. The drama of "Romeo and Juliet" continues to repeat itself almost 500 years after William Shakespeare penned his tragic story.
"Evidence will eventually be tested in an open forum either in the appeals court in Paris or at the coroner's court in the United Kingdom. There are still many unanswered questions, not least of which relate to the documents held by the United States government agencies, especially the National Security Agency, NSA; Central Intelligence Agency, CIA; the United States intelligence gathering network, which, through the most sophisticated satellite systems, allowed the NSA to spy on Diana Princess of Wales, perhaps while she was in the company of my son, even when they were aboard my yacht in Sardinia.
"They monitored many of her conversations and apparently passed the information to MI6. There are at least 39 documents consisting with 1,054 pages held by the NSA alone. The NSA, however, refuses to release the documents or even publicly acknowledge the existence of the tapes by hiding behind the cloak of national security. How can the innocent conversations of two people very much in love possibly jeopardize the security of the United States of America, particularly when the existence of the tapes is well-known? The information in these files can form part of the jigsaw puzzle now being resembled to reveal the truth.
"Tomorrow, I'll be filing a lawsuit before the United States District Court of the District of Columbia to compel the United States government to release all relevant information (UNINTELLIGIBLE) regarding the tragedy and related events. Included among the relevant documents is information pertaining to the United States Department of Justice failure to fully investigate and prosecute individuals who attempted to take advantage of Princess Diana's death and my grief by extorting $20 million from me by offering for sale alleged CIA documents describing MI6 involvement in the assassination of my son and Princess Diana.
"One of the men, Oswald LeWinter, was prosecuted immediately by the Austrian government and is now serving a sentence of imprisonment in Vienna for his part in the scheme.
"Although the documents were later determined to be forgeries, LeWinter insists that the original documents prescribing the murder plot are held by the CIA. Almost 2 1/2 years have passed since LeWinter's imprisonment, yet despite overwhelming evidence in the United States, the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Columbia has made no move to prosecute anyone else.
"I will never rest until the truth is discovered. Those responsible for the murders must be brought to justice. I am great believer in God, and I'm now appealing to the American people to help me prove that two innocent people were murdered by evil people controlled by a political regime. Thank you."
KAGAN: We've been listening to a taped news conference out of Washington, D.C. Once again, Mohammed Al Fayed, the father of Dodi Fayed, who died in the car accident with Princess Diana and the chauffeur, Henri Paul. He's filing a lawsuit here in the U.S. against the federal government, asking for more information, trying to get to the bottom of what he says is a conspiracy that killed his son and Princess Diana.
We'll take a break, show you more of this after this.
HEMMER: Going to take you back now to that press conference, Mark Zaid still talking now. Live now, an attorney representing the Al Fayed family.
ZAID: Let me tell you a little bit more detailed information about the lawsuit, then I will give you some detailed background about part of this fraud attempt and then updates on the UK and French investigations to the extent we can. We'll go through security camera footage and some many of the unanswered questions surrounding the tragedy.
The lawsuit seeks -- and it will be filed and available from the court tomorrow morning. The lawsuit seeks information relating to more than 20 categories of information regarding individuals and events. It seeks information relating to the tragedy itself, relating to specific individuals, both deceased and alive, particularly trying to understand what the U.S. government knows or knew or has primarily failed to do.
Now no one suspects that the U.S. government was involved in the death. My good friends at the CIA have already started to make that aspect clear, that it would be ludicrous to accuse them. Of course, they're jumping the gun, because nobody has accused them, and nobody will be.
What we do accuse them of is withholding information and hiding information from not only Al Fayed but the public.
A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the individual or entity that brings it is of no consequence or no relevance to the lawsuit itself, except for boring fee waiver provisions that you don't care about.
But the fact is anybody could have brought this lawsuit, and the burden of proving that these documents cannot be released is on the government. It is not on us. The government has to prove that this information is classified.
What are some of the information that we're looking for?
The National Security Agency intercepted telephone conversations of Princess Diana. Such conversations or tapes were played for attorney-turned-author Gerald Posner. He was played a tape that no one is saying contains this incriminating information. It was apparently an innocuous portion of a conversation between the princess and a friend, I believe, the U.S. -- the Brazilian ambassador to the United States' wife. The question is why was the NSA targeting Princess Diana? and what else does the NSA have in its possession regarding audiotapes? are there audiotapes of Princess Diana speaking to Dodi Al Fayed? or of Dodi Al Fayed speaking to others?
We know the CIA has information in its possession regarding this fellow Oswald LeWinter, who we will talk a little bit about in just a short while. Oswald LeWinter has always alleged himself that he's had intelligence ties to the Central Intelligence Agency. Presumably it appears he also had some informant ties the FBI and it has been told that he's had some intelligence connections to both the Israeli government and perhaps the German government.
We also know for a fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is withholding information regarding Richard Tomlinson. Richard Tomlinson is a -- the best way to describe, renegade MI6 agent, MI6 being the British CIA. He is somewhat in exile because he is facing potential prosecution in the United Kingdom for violating the State Secrets Act. Richard Tomlinson has made known to Judge Stephan in Paris, who was the investigating judge of the tragedy, that two primary things. And we have a copy of his affidavit here. One, than Henri Paul was in the paid employ of MI6. And two, that he saw plans, or at least discussions on paper of a plot for the British government to assassinate President Slobodan -- Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic. The circumstances under which that plot was to be carried out or suggested, was remarkably similar to what happened to the princess: the forcing of a car into a tunnel where the driver would be blinded by flashing light causing the driver to crash. At least two eyewitnesses have testified -- and this is before Tomlinson ever made that allegation known, that they saw blinding lights in the tunnel.
Now this is not saying, nor do we allege in the lawsuit, because we don't allege any particular theory, that those -- that Tomlinson's statements may in fact even suggest or indicate that that's what happened. But it was information from an individual that has been deemed reliable as to his information, there's no question he worked for MI6, and at the very least merited further investigation. We know the FBI has a criminal file on Tomlinson that has not been released because of a pending criminal investigation. We don't know what that amounts to. We know that there is information on Mr. Al Fayed himself that the FBI has refused to release. These are just some of the areas that we will be going into in the lawsuit.
One other thing on Tomlinson, actually, I do want to say. When Tomlinson made these allegations known publicly, he was set to come on and appear on an NBC television program. He flew to the United States and landed at John F. Kennedy in New York, where he was met, before anyone disembarked from the plane, by U.S. government agents, law enforcement officials who promptly brought him off the plane and detained him for several hours in a room and then ultimately sent him back to Europe without ever entering the United States. We want to know why and at whose request was that done? He was coming to talk about Princess Diana's case. Again, might have nothing to do with his information that he was going to discuss. But it again raises another interesting question regarding the mystery surrounding Princess Diana, as to why the United States government took the actions that it did.
The process -- I'm going to say, actually, one more thing as I'm looking at my notes. The allegation of Tomlinson, about Henri Paul, has also been supported by Gerald Posner's investigation. He was told by -- because you might say: Well, why should the U.S. government know anything about Henri Paul? it's a good question. Posner was told by U.S. intelligence sources that Henri Paul was meeting with the French security services in the hours before the princess's and his death.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Again, those comments from attorneys for Dodi Al Fayed a short time ago, those are played back on videotape there. Getting word now through the attorneys there that they are looking for information from the U.S. government for more information. They make it quite clear they're not accusing the U.S. government in any way of contributing to the death of Al Fayed and Princess Diana, but looking for more information the U.S. government may have to uncover.
Again, it will three years ago tomorrow when that Mercedes crashed, right around midnight, Paris time, on the streets of Paris, France. We'll continue to track this. Coming up, quick break now, more after this.
KAGAN: We want to show you more now, the news conference that has been taking place in Washington D.C. As Mohammed Al Fayed, the father of Dodi Al Fayed, announces that he is suing the U.S. government to get more information on the crash that killed Princess Diana, Dodi Al Fayed, and chauffeur Henri Paul, three years ago tomorrow.
Here is more from the lawyers.
ZAID: Now why did the U.S. intelligence officers know that? that is a good question, too, and that is part of the litigation.
Now just from a process standpoint, the case will be filed in the morning, the United States government will have 30 days in which to respond from the date the U.S. Attorney's office receives it, which I would estimate to be 30 days from next Wednesday. The government will then have to defend its burden as to whether or not the documents will be released. This is not going to be a quick process. Civil litigation, particularly that of FOIA, which is the acronym for the Freedom of Information Act, is a fairly lengthy and frustrating process. And I am sure we will see our share of ups and downs.
This is, in fact, the second attempt through litigation to obtain this information. Mr. Al Fayed had attempted previously to obtain the information through subpoenas, both here in the District, and in Maryland, against the NSA, the DIA, and the CIA. The government thwarted that effort, refused to produce one document, which necessitated tomorrow's action.
Now I want to tell you a little bit about this $20 million fraud. A group of individuals approached Al Fayed's intermediaries, representatives here in Washington, to say that they were in possession of classified CIA documents, documents that would indicate that the British government had assassinated Princess Diana and that, in fact, the princess was pregnant at the time of her death. They were offered for -- an amount of $20 million to secure access.
Al Fayed's representatives were understandably quite questioning of that offer, suspicious, and they immediately approached the United States government and contacted law enforcement authorities here in Washington. As a result, the attempted fraud became a sting operation from almost the beginning of Al Fayed's representatives working in conjunction with government officials at the CIA, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney's Office.
After lengthy discussions and discussions regarding the terms of the documents, or the price of the documents -- and you'll hear from John about this because he was the one conducting all of this -- there was an arrest made in Vienna, Austria of an individual who then became known as Oswald LeWinter -- because he was using an alias at the time.
Oswald LeWinter has offered many theories over the years. He first emerged dealing with the October Surprise, which was, you might recall, for those American journalists, for the most part, an attempt -- an alleged attempt by the Reagan administration prior to the election to block the hostages in Iran from being released so that Jimmy Carter would lose the election.
LeWinter was responsible for disseminating a lot of the -- what's been deemed disinformation about that. He has shown up in allegations that Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was murdered, he has shown up involving allegations of the bombing of Pam Am 103, and then he showed up in this latest endeavor of his. He is quite a man of mystery. You'll hear more from John on that. He's now serving four years in Austrian prison.
Despite the sting operation and the wiring of $25,000 from a bank here in Washington to a bank in New Mexico, with the approval of the United States government, to these individuals, there have been no other -- no prosecutions by the United States government, and, in fact, no recovery of the $25,000, which, by itself, is somewhat suspicious, given that that alone would be evidence of wire fraud.
The documents were recovered from LeWinter's hotel room. I have copies of them here, if you have not received them. They were deemed to be forgeries, although he, as was said in Mohammed's statement, claims that they are based on real documents. That's his claim.
What is interesting about the documents is that they utilize terminology and identification of CIA and military terms that is generally not known. The problem is, it's outdated. It's information -- for instance, an office within the CIA that has since been changed in name. It's information that, if it was about 1979, would still be accurate.
Now the information that I have received from various intelligence sources is that LeWinter maintained a relationship with the CIA through the 1970s, which might account -- as well as, I guess, the military -- which might account for why these documents appear dated by their very definition.
I'd like to have John address some of the issues and tell you about his dealings with the United States government on -- with respect to this fraud attempt and why it has been so disconcerting to Mr. Al Fayed -- John.
KAGAN: OK, and with that, we're going to take one more break and bring you more of that news conference right after this.
HEMMER: Back now to that press conference. John McNamara now speaking. He is a head of security for Harrods in London. Here's Mr. McNamara.
MCNAMARA: I think Mark's covered the circumstances pretty well. When we had this approach, we decided that we couldn't be a party to securing secret U.S. documents, if they were to be secret U.S. documents, so I came to Washington with clean hands on behalf of Mr. Al Fayed and saw the CIA and the FBI. And they assigned a CIA official to the case, two FBI agents. And as a result of a lot of negotiations, we ended up in Vienna, Austria.
We were then supported by further FBI from the United States embassy of Vienna, the Austrian Secret Service, which culminating in me meeting Oswald LeWinter. He was arrested and these documents were found in his hotel room, together with a loaded pistol and some other stuff.
He was in the company of a man by the name of Carl Kosher (ph), who was a known spy in the CIA. He was prosecuted in the United States for selling U.S. secrets and imprisoned with LeWinter in New York sometime after that. So there's an association, again, with a known CIA spy.
At that time, LeWinter gave his name as George Mirror (ph) and the FBI were all set to arrest all of those other participants in the United States. They wanted to secure telephone records and so on and so forth. As soon as LeWinter's identity became known to the CIA, I can only describe it as the shutters going down: nothing happened. To this day, nothing has happened. Not one individual in the United States has been prosecuted.
We, then, after 18 month of inactivity, submitted a civil lawsuit in Los Angeles. And quite surprisingly, the U.S. Attorney's Office supplied LeWinter with all the prosecution documents to assist him in his defense. Again, absolutely nothing has happened. I don't know why. If this is such an innocent matter, if it's a simple fraud, then why don't they prosecute?
I've kept in contact with LeWinter ever since I visited him several times in prison in Austria. He's a man in his 70s now, in very bad health. He tells me that he now has nothing to lose. He wants to tell the truth. He admits quite freely that the documents are forgeries, but insists that they were based on genuine information held within the CIA records at Langley, Virginia.
He even went so far as to invite the U.S. Attorney's Office to come and see him in Vienna where he would spill everything out to them. And that invitation was extended also by his lawyers in Austria. But not one move has ever been made by the U.S. authorities to see LeWinter.
If this is simply a cruel hoax and without foundation, we would like to know. This is another of the unanswered questions we really want to get to the bottom of. But without the cooperation of the United States government, I don't believe we ever will.
I think that answers the LeWinter question.
ZAID: Why don't you stay up here.
Let me give you a very brief update on the United Kingdom and France investigations. There's not much to say on it. If any questions want to be asked to Ian Burton (ph) later, he will be here available with us.
The French investigation, of course, was closed by the investigating judge, Judge Stephan, and is presently on appeal by Al Fayed as an interested party. I understand it is scheduled to have -- I don't know if it constitutes arguments or proceedings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF-MIKE)
ZAID: The 15th of September will be the next date of which the French will convene a proceeding.
As far as the United Kingdom, there -- and this is somewhat foreign for how we do things here in the United States -- there is what's called coroner's inquest that will be pending. They have withheld from doing so until the French investigation was closed.
The controversy is that the British government want to have separate coroner's inquests. And the coroner's inquest will either be a medical doctor or a lawyer -- or I suppose it could be both -- and a jury listening to potential evidence relating to the tragedy.
This is not anything unique. Any time there is a death that is other than in a hospital or something at dying in your bed at home of a heart attack, unless it appears to be somewhat suspicious, there will be a coroner's inquest. It allows, though, for a, literally, a small, little trial. And the British government has tried to split these investigations into two: one for the princess and one for Dodi Al Fayed.
The one on the princess would be conducted by the royal coroner, which is interesting because, as you all know, and those who follow the royal family, the royal family did its best to distance itself from Princess Diana after the divorce. So why all of a sudden they've tried to bring her within their grasp again is somewhat intriguing.
The potential controversy, though, is that you have the possibility of two, separate and different diametrically opposed decisions. You could have one decision in that it was an accident, and one that it was not. And what is going on is a legal appeal to challenge the decision to split the investigations. We want it as a joint investigation.
What I'd like to do is invite John back up to go through some of the unanswered questions surrounding the tragedy that are not necessarily part of the lawsuit in the sense that we expect the U.S. government to have answers, but this is a compilation of what is out there in general that has led Mohammed Al Fayed to not be at rest with respect to the official verdict -- John.
HEMMER: A quick timeout again from our coverage of that press conference there, announcing a lawsuit against various U.S. government entities. We'll continue to hear from John McNamara again, director of security at Harrods in London, when we return after this break.
KAGAN: Back now to Washington, D.C. and more of this news conference on behalf of Mohammed Al Fayed, the father Dodi Fayed, who died in that car crash with Princess Diana three years ago tomorrow.
Here's John McNamara, head of security for Harrods department store.
ZAID: How do we do this? Let's see if I can work this so everybody can see and he can hear at the same time.
John, does anyone have a...
MCNAMARA: Do I use one of these?
ZAID: ... one of those laser beam pointers? Well, they need you at microphone. That's the big problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who's got a wireless?
ZAID: How about if I point and you kind of tell me where to point, and you talk at the mike. That's an unfortunate -- some things we could have been better at.
MCNAMARA: OK, I'll use this one, if you can all hear me on here. If you want to watch that screen, it might be easier.
Starting Plasse Von Dom (ph), you see the blue line here, that's the front of the Ritz Hotel, and that's where the cars were that were that were going to act as the decoy. The plan was that the cars would leave from Plasse Von Dom where all the paparazzi were outside, and they would draw the paparazzi away, Dodi and Princess Diana would go in a car driven by Henri Paul from here, Rue Cambonne, at the back of the Ritz Hotel.
When they got as far as here, the plan seemed to succeed, but the paparazzi, with their mobile phones, soon told each other that it was a decoy operation. And by the time they reached Vivaly (ph) here, they were pretty well surrounded by paparazzi.
Henri Paul was, contrary to what they may say, a very experienced driver. He'd done Mercedes courses in driving in Germany. He knew every inch of this route. They intended to go here, Rue Assinay Jose (ph) just off the Champs-Elysee.
There are two routes that you can take to Rue Assinay Jose. The most direct route, as you can see, is Plasse du le Concorde (ph), follow the green line, Avenue Champs-Elysee. If there was heavy traffic, it is known for chauffeurs to take the route alongside the Seine here and exit here after the bridge Alexander III.
That particular night was very quiet. There wasn't much traffic about at all. And the easiest and safest route would have been for Henri Paul to have driven straight up the Champs-Elysee. He had more room to maneuver, a very, very wide road. Probably all familiar with it.
Instead, for a reason best known to himself and maybe -- I don't know -- maybe on instruction, he went alongside the River Seine. He had two possible routes of exit from this road, Cour de Reine (ph), the final exit being here, which would have taken him into the Champs- Elysee.
I emphasize that Henri Paul knew every inch of that road and he knew where to exit. If he missed this turning, he has no alternative but to drive through the Alma Tunnel (ph), which, if you see -- and it's not very well described on here -- is going southwest. It's going away from his destination. We know now from witnesses that Henri Paul was chased by cars and motorcycles. I believe they were forcing him to drive faster and faster along that route.
When he came to his point of no return, if I can put it that way, here, the road was blocked by two motorcycles. He could not exit onto the Champs-Elysee. That evidence is given by an expert witness and has been given to Judge Stephan. The other possible exit would have been here. You might see this yellow road. I beg your pardon, I've misspoken, this is where the two motorcyclists were, this very final exit where the yellow road is. He could have exit here, taken, where you see the yellow route, straight up to Rue Assinay Jose. The motorcyclist blocked his exit. He was then forced into the Alma Tunnel. He had no reason and didn't want to go into the Alma Tunnel. And waiting at the mouth of the Alma Tunnel was a Fiat Uno. We now know from witnesses, and we have expert evidence on this from a well- known professor, that that Fiat, and he has measured this by tire marks, straddled the road, forcing the Mercedes off course.
At the same time, there were two witnesses, you heard Mark Zaid tell you, there was a blindingly flash. This was not an ordinary camera flash, it was a blinding flash that blinded Henri Paul. By this time he was traveling at excess speed. He was being pushed and pursued by cars and motorcycles. The combination of the speed, the blinding flash, pushed him off course, and he collided with the 13th pillar.
What I would add to all of this, is between Plasse Von Don, is right next to the Ministry of Justice, where they have security cameras supposed to be recording 24 hours a day. All the way along the route, even to the Alma Tunnel itself, there are video cameras, security cameras. There is one actually above the bridge itself. But according to the French authorities, not one of those cameras on that night was working. And we wonder why?
I would suggest the reason is -- there's no record of who was present, what vehicles were present. There were a lot of photographs taken that night which weren't recovered by the police. And these were transmitted electronically to agents, we know certainly in London, if not the United States. We have statements from two of these reliable press agents that within 36 hours of that crash, their houses, during the night, were broken into by the security services, and all of their equipment was stolen and never recovered. So somebody doesn't want photographs, video recordings to be shown anywhere. These witnesses know that the break-ins were by the security services. These are two we know of, we don't know how many more.
After the crash, the ambulance arrived, there was a French doctor, Dr. Malyes (ph), who treated her at the scene. But quite surprisingly, he never joined Princess Diana in the ambulance to go to the hospital. And one would imagine that even for the sake of continuity after treatment that he'd given that he would have done that. It then took them an hour and three quarters to get to their destination, the final hospital.
They passed three hospitals with the facilities to treat Princess Diana. The injuries that she sustained were likened to those President Reagan had when he was shot in Washington. The pulmonary was torn, and the only treatment you can have is to rush that person to the hospital. They did it with President Reagan and he survived. Princess Diana stayed in that ambulance, it even stopped outside the hospital, a hundred yards from that hospital, for 10 minutes before it actually went in. There may be explanations for this, I don't know, I can't think of any.
But the judge, Herve Stephan, compiled a 10,000 page report. We posed these sort of questions to the judge. They haven't been answered simply because his report was never published. And his report is never going to be published because they decided not to prosecute any of the paparazzi involved. In other words, none of those paparazzi will appear before a court, therefore, we don't have a forum, we cannot call witnesses.
So we don't know what happened in that ambulance. We don't know what treatment she received. And we don't know the reason that they took the route they did. You could have walked to that hospital quicker than it took the ambulance to get there. These are the sort of questions that we're trying to raise.
Could you pass that picture?
We -- I went to the Paris on Tuesday. I knew Henri Paul very well. I've known him for 10 years and to me he was not a drinker. The first thing I did when we heard, within 36 hours of that crash, that he was three times over the drink-drive limit, was to get hold of Kes Wingfield. He was the bodyguard in the decoy car, and the nearest living witness that we had at that time to what happened. Mr. Al Fayed was shocked and appalled to think that Henri Paul was drunk. And he would never have condoned such a thing. Kes Wingfield swore and swears to this day that Henri Paul was not drunk. They were with him for 2 1/2 hours up until that time. They were with him when he drove the back-up car from the Borges (ph) Airport during that Saturday afternoon and praised his driving and his demeanor. I found it difficult to accept that Henri Paul was drunk, knowing him as I did.
We went with a Regis professor from Glasgow University to the Paris, and asked, as you would here, in the United States and England, for an opportunity to perform an independent post mortem. That was refused, no reason was given for the refusal. The professor then asked for a chance to independently examine the body samples of Henri Paul, that was refused. It was asked on behalf of Henri Paul's parents for an independent pathologist to be present at any further examination of the body and that was refused. We did the obtain, or the professor did obtain, an initial autopsy report from the French pathologist, Madame Dominique La Compte (ph). That raised even more questions to the professor, the manner in which the blood sample was taken. It was taken from the chest cavity, which would have been a contaminated source.
KAGAN: And that is going to wrap up our look at that news conference. Once again, Mohammed Al Fayed, the father of Dodi Fayed, who died in that car crash three years ago, along with Princess Diana and chauffeur Henri Paul, will be filing a lawsuit against the U.S. federal government, looking for more information about what might have happened on that night when those three people lost their lives. That is going to wrap up our coverage on that.
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