US Judge Orders North Korea To Pay $500M in Student's Death - NBC New York
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

US Judge Orders North Korea To Pay $500M in Student's Death

"We promised Otto that we will never rest until we have justice for him," the family said

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    US Judge Orders North Korea To Pay $500M in Student's Death
    Getty Images
    FILE - Army Staff Sergeant Justin Peck sits with Fred and Cindy Warmbier during the State of the Union address.

    A federal judge ordered North Korea to pay more than $500 million on Monday in a wrongful death suit filed by the parents of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died shortly after being released from that country.

    U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington ruled that North Korea should pay damages to Fred and Cindy Warmbier, the parents of the University of Virginia student.

    Warmbier was a University of Virginia student who was visiting North Korea with a tour group when he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in March 2016 on suspicion of stealing a propaganda poster. He died in June 2017, shortly after he returned to the U.S. in a coma and showing apparent signs of torture while in custody.

    The judgment is largely a symbolic victory for now, since there is no mechanism to force North Korea to pay.

    Testimony of Candidate's Son Upends Election Fraud Hearing

    [NATL] Testimony of Candidate's Son Upends Election Fraud Hearing

    A Justice Department official gave shocking testimony in an election fraud hearing into his father’s campaign for the North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. John Harris said he warned his father, Republican Mark Harris, against hiring an operative now accused of running an illegal ballot-collecting operation.

    (Published Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019)

    Fred and Cindy Warmbier said they were thankful that that the court found the government of Kim Jong Un "legally and morally" responsible for their son's death.

    "We put ourselves and our family through the ordeal of a lawsuit and public trial because we promised Otto that we will never rest until we have justice for him," they said in a joint statement. "Today's thoughtful opinion by Chief Judge Howell is a significant step on our journey."

    The lawsuit, filed in April, describes in horrific detail the physical abuse Warmbier endured in North Korean custody.

    When his parents boarded a plane to see him upon arrival in the U.S., they were "stunned to see his condition," according to court documents.

    The 22-year-old was blind and deaf, his arms were curled and mangled and he was jerking violently and howling, completely unresponsive to his family's attempts to comfort him. His once straight teeth were misaligned, and he had an unexplained scarred wound on his foot. An expert said in court papers that the injuries suggested he had been tortured with electrocution.

    A neurologist later concluded that the college student suffered brain damage, likely from a loss of blood flow to the brain for 5-20 minutes.

    16 States Sue Trump Over Emergency Declaration

    [NATL] 16 States Sue Trump Over Emergency Declaration

    California, New York, Maryland and 13 other states have filed lawsuits challenging President Donald Trump's emergency declaration. The declaration bypasses Congress, allowing Trump to use military funds to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico. 

    (Published Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019)

    The complaint also said Warmbier, who was from a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio, was pressured to make a televised confession and then convicted of subversion after a one-hour trial. He was denied communication with his family. In early June 2017, Warmbier's parents were informed he was in a coma and had been in that condition for one year.