Judgment Day

updated 05/26/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/26/2003 01:00AM

Since her husband, Tim, was killed in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Katy Soulas has spent nearly every day at her Somerset County, N.J., home looking after her six children, including 14-month-old Danny, born nearly 7 months after his dad's death. But she did step out one morning last February to testify in a New York City federal courthouse against Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and others she says were behind the attacks. "I kept saying to myself, 'I'm doing this in Tim's honor,' " says Soulas, 36. " 'He would want me to make right by this.' "

On May 7, U.S. District Judge Harold Baer Jr. ordered bin Laden and Hussein to pay $93 million to Soulas, whose husband was a 35-year-old currency trader, and $11 million to the family of another WTC victim, George Eric Smith, 38. (Other victims' families may follow suit.) During the hearing, ex-CIA chief James Woolsey Jr. appeared as a witness and Soulas's lawyers showed a 2001 satellite photo of an apparent terrorist camp outside Baghdad—proof, said Judge Baer, "that Iraq provided material support to bin Laden and al Qaeda."

Baer's judgment, the first of its kind, "is a huge victory for all the victims," says Katy Soulas. "We're getting accountability." That may be all she is getting, though, since collecting money from the likes of bin Laden and Hussein will be difficult. But the court victory, she says, is a landmark: "It gives nations that support terrorism a message—that it comes with penalties."

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