|Barry Jennings Revisited|
|Written by Dennis P. McMahon, JD, LLM|
|Thursday, 31 May 2012 14:34|
Is His Explosive WTC 7 Testimony Still Court-Worthy?
Editor’s Note: New York attorney Dennis McMahon spearheaded the legal effort by NYC CAN in 2009 to compel the New York City Council to initiate a new investigation of the destruction of the WTC skyscrapers. If you would like to support legal actions toward a real 9/11 investigation, write to Gregg Roberts.
Among all the highly credible video and forensic evidence indicating that WTC Building 7 was brought down by explosive controlled demolition on September 11, 2001, the accounts of explosions related by eyewitness Barry Jennings are particularly persuasive.
On 9/11, Jennings was the Deputy Director of the Emergency Services Department for the New York City Housing Authority. He and Michael Hess, the New York City Corporation Counsel, were rescued from WTC Building 7 before it collapsed at 5:20 p.m. On several occasions, Jennings stated that an explosion trapped them in WTC Building 7 and that he continued to hear...
explosions throughout the building until they were saved. As reported in October 2008, Jennings died on August 19, 2008. Thus, the question emerges: Has the potential legal power and value of Jennings’ testimony been lost forever?
The short answer is “no.” Even under the strictest rules of evidence that may apply, Jennings’ statements about the explosions at Building 7 should be admissible during any legal proceeding convened to determine the real cause of the collapse of Building 7 – be it in a criminal trial, before a grand jury, or during hearings before the New York City Council, the New York State Assembly, the US Congress, or any other formal bodies.
On the afternoon of 9/11, after Jennings and Hess were rescued from Building 7, Jennings told ABC-TV News:
“Well, me and Hess, the Corporation Counsel, were on the 23rd floor. I told him, ‘We gotta get out of here.’ We started walking down the stairs. We made it to the eighth floor [later clarified to be the sixth floor, see here at the 3:50 mark]. Big explosion! Blew us back into the eighth floor. And I turned to Hess and I said, ‘This is it, we’re dead. We’re not gonna make it outta here...’”
Tellingly, despite his prominence on national TV, Jennings was never called to testify before the 9/11 Commission, and his account was not included in the 9/11 Commission Report or the NIST WTC Reports. Similarly, the 9/11 Commission also completely ignored the firefighters’ reports of explosions in the Twin Towers, as contained in the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) oral histories, while making “fairly extensive use of the oral histories” for other purposes, according to 9/11 researcher Graeme MacQueen (see page 9 of the PDF, page 55 of the Journal ).
Sometime before 2008, during an interview with Loose Change filmmakers Jason Bermas and Dylan Avery, Jennings elaborated on the explosions he heard and felt in Building 7, saying (at the 5:45 mark):
“All this time, I’m hearing all kinds of explosions. All this time I’m hearing explosions. And I’m thinking that maybe it’s the uh, buses around me that were on fire, the cars that were on fire, but, I don’t see no [gesturing] you know, but I'm still hearing these explosions. When they [the rescuers] finally got to us, and they took us down, to what, what they, they, uh, called the lobby, because I asked them when we got down there I said, ‘Where are we?’ He said ‘This was the lobby.’ And I said, ‘You gotta be kidding me.’ Total ruins. Total ruins. Now keep in mind when I came in there, the lobby had nice escalators, it was a huge lobby. And for me to see what I saw, was unbelievable.”
There has been some confusion regarding the extent to which Jennings had, before his death, retracted portions of his account regarding his stepping over dead bodies at Building 7. This side issue might have to be dealt with during any formal proceeding; however, Jennings never wavered from his statements regarding the explosions. Thus, his recorded statements remain highly credible and would still be of importance in helping to establish that Building 7 was brought down in a controlled demolition.
From a legal perspective, the problem would be how to introduce the Jennings video clips into evidence over any objections that may arise as to his testimony being hearsay. In legal settings, “hearsay” is generally defined as an out-of-court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Since Jennings’ statements (referenced above) were not made in a court of law (or other legal proceeding), and because those statements
There has also been controversy over whether Jennings is in fact deceased, as well as mystery surrounding what the cause of death might have been. But if and when the time comes—in court, at an inquest, or during a formal investigation or hearing—a certified death certificate would likely have to be obtained and introduced into evidence to show that Jennings is unavailable to testify. At that point, the video clips of Jennings’ compelling testimony about the explosions inside Building 7 could be introduced into evidence.
It should be noted that the video clips themselves would have to be authenticated. This could be done through the testimony of those present when the video was recorded, saying that what is observed on the clips is what the witnesses remember seeing and hearing Jennings say at the time of the interviews.
It should also be noted that Jennings’ account of being trapped in Building 7 with Hess and hearing explosions has been verified by Hess. There is even a video of Hess being trapped in Building 7, further corroborating his and Jennings’ accounts.
In addition, dozens of other witnesses heard explosions on 9/11—at least 118 (and counting) according to MacQueen’s research into the collection of oral histories from the FDNY. With regard to Building 7 itself, the statements of first responders Craig Bartmer and Kevin McPadden have also been captured on video, and certainly corroborate the testimony of Barry Jennings.
Craig Bartmer, a former New York City police officer, and 9/11 first responder, stated:
“All of a sudden, the radios exploded and everybody started screaming, ‘Get away, get away, get away from it!’ And, I was like a deer in the headlights. And I look up, and...Two guys that I knew were on the transit radio. I don’t know if those tapes are out there... And I looked up, and… it was nothing I would ever imagine seeing in my life. You know the thing [Building 7] started peeling in on itself and, I mean, there was an umbrella of [expletive] seven feet over my head that I just stared at. Somebody grabbed my shoulder and I started running, and the shit’s hitting the ground behind me. And the whole time you’re hearing, THOOM! THOOM! THOOM! THOOM! THOOM! So, I, I think I know an explosion when I hear it, you know? So yeah, I wanna know what took that building down. I don’t think it was a fire, and it certainly wasn’t a plane...It had some damage to it but nothing like what they’re saying…Nothing to account for what we saw…I am shocked at the [official] story we’ve heard about it, to be quite honest.”
Kevin McPadden, an emergency medical technician, and 9/11 first responder, stated:
“Yeah, there was like, there was a whole lot of commotion. The firefighters were picking up, and they were starting to roll out...The Red Cross rep was like, he goes over and he says [to us], ‘You gotta stay behind this line because they’re thinking about bringing the building down.’…He goes over and he asks one of the… firefighters what was going on…He came back over with his hand over the radio and [you could hear] what sounded like a countdown. And, at the last few seconds, he took his hand off [the radio] and you heard ‘three-two-one,’ and he was just saying, ‘Just run for your life! Just run for your life!’ And then it was like another two, three seconds, you heard explosions. Like, BA-BOOOOOM! And it’s like a distinct sound…BA-BOOOOOM! And you felt a rumble in the ground, like, almost like you wanted to grab onto something. That, to me, I knew that was an explosion. There was no doubt in my mind...”
Given all we know from the recorded statements made by Jennings, Bartmer, McPadden, and other eyewitnesses to the events of 9/11, as well as all the forensic and video evidence regarding the explosive destruction of Building 7, the question becomes, “Will we ever have a truly independent subpoena-powered investigation into what really happened on 9/11?” That is the goal of AE911Truth. Until that day arrives, however, it’s vital that we continue to study, present, and preserve all of the 9/11 evidence, and take action locally and globally to educate the public far and wide.