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Mohamed Al Fayed to sue U.S. government to get documents on Diana and Dodi

Ritz surveillance video
Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed appear on a surveillance tape at the Ritz Hotel in Paris the night their car crashed, killing them and their driver, Henri Paul  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Mohamed Al Fayed maintains that the August 31, 1997, deaths of his Egyptian son, Dodi, and Britain's Princess Diana were part of a conspiracy to prevent Diana from marrying Dodi.

On Thursday, his lawyers will sue the U.S. government to obtain secret documents that Fayed says could lend credence to his belief.

Fayed lawyer Mark Zaid said Wednesday he is suing the U.S. government, particularly the intelligence community, under the Freedom of Information Act to get secret U.S. documents and tapes that could shed lights on the deaths that shocked the world. The lawsuit will be filed in federal court in the District of Columbia.

CNN's David Ensor explains the planned lawsuit

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Thursday marks the third anniversary of the Paris car crash that killed Dodi, Diana and the driver of Mercedes, Henri Paul. French authorities say Paul was drunk and driving fast, causing the crash. A French judge closed the crash investigation in September 1999.

The lawsuit will name the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the departments of justice, state and defense, among others.

"The effort of the lawsuit and purpose is to obtain any information from the United States government. There is clearly, and we know for a fact, information in its possession, some of which is quite suspicious," Zaid said after a news conference Wednesday to announce the filing of the lawsuit.

"Whether or not that ties into a conspiracy theory is going to have to be left up to everyone who reads those documents, assuming the United States government ever agrees to release them," he added.

For example, the NSA has tapes of telephone conversations between the couple, Zaid alleged, adding that Fayed wants to know why.

Fayed said in a written statement that the NSA has more than 1,000 pages of information on Diana and Dodi. He also alleged that the agency has "apparently" shared secret information with MI6, the British intelligence agency.

Zaid said he is not accusing the United States of being involved in the deaths. But he accused the United States of withholding information that could shed light on the deaths.

In a written statement, Fayed reiterated his belief that the deaths resulted from a conspiracy.

"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," Fayed wrote.

Diana, Princess of Wales  

He wrote that Britain's royalty "would never have accepted my son, a naturally tanned, curly-haired Egyptian, being married to the mother of the future king of England and becoming his stepfather."

The U.S. denies any involvement in the deaths. CIA spokesman Tom Crispell said the agency has not seen the lawsuit yet. He characterized as "totally unfounded" any suggestion that the CIA spied on Dodi and Diana or knew of any plot to assassinate the pair.

Fayed, who owns the luxury department store Harrods in London, has tried to obtain the U.S. information previously through subpoenas in the District of Columbia and nearby Maryland. Now he is filing a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to get the same information.

One year later, Diana's life and death remembered
August 31, 1998
Dodi's dad says fatal wreck was no accident
February 12, 1998
New book says Diana, Dodi planned to marry
February 7, 1998
World watches as Britain bids farewell to Diana
August 1997
Doctors: Diana's injuries impossible to survive
August 31, 1997
Diana hurt, beau killed in crash
August 30, 1997

The death of Princess Diana
Diana: A Remembrance

Official site of the British Monarchy
Diana, Princess of Wales
The official website of Mohamed Al Fayed

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