New York — As the first cases in a massive battle over illnesses linked to 9/11 near trial, an Associated Press investigation has found that several of the initial 30 suits contain inconsistent or exaggerated claims about how the workers got sick or how much time they spent at ground zero.
One demolition worker who said he developed health problems after toiling for six months in the toxic ruins of the World Trade Center has actually been severely ill since the 1990s. In a previous medical malpractice case, he said he was so sick between 2000 and 2003 that he couldn’t work regularly. He never mentioned 9/11 during his testimony in that lawsuit.
Lawyers for a police officer from northern New Jersey who died in 2006 claimed in a court filing that he spent nearly 300 days handling debris at ground zero, but his work records indicate that his actual time and duties related to 9/11 were far more limited. During the months the lawyers said the man worked at ground zero, he was recording full-time shifts in Cresskill, N.J.