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Lawyer Says Film '15:17 To Paris' Would Prejudice Train Attack Jury

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows, from left, Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler and Spencer Stone in a scene from <em>The 15:17 to Paris. </em>
Keith Bernstein
This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows, from left, Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler and Spencer Stone in a scene from The 15:17 to Paris.

A lawyer for the accused gunman in a 2015 terrorist attack aboard a Paris-bound train is asking to halt the release of a new Clint Eastwood film depicting how three American tourists thwarted the assault.

Sarah Mauger-Poliak, the attorney for Ayoub El-Khazzani, has asked that showing of the film The 15:17 to Paris be suspended until after a judge reviews evidence in the case.

Mauger-Poliak said the film presents a "fictionalized" and "one-sided" portrayal of the incident to the public that could prejudice the case of El-Khazzani, who is Moroccan.

"I am aware that my client is not an angel, but let justice do its work," she said, according to the BBC.

In the attack in August 2015, the three Americans, Air Force serviceman Spencer Stone, Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos — both traveling in civilian clothes — and Anthony Sadler, a student at Sacramento State University, subdued the gunman, who was armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, 9mm handgun, boxcutter and gasoline.

Spencer first rushed the attacker, who had already shot one train passenger, tackling him, while the other two joined into to help in disarming the gunman, and bringing him under control. In the melee, Spencer was slashed by the assailant's boxcutter.

The three, friends who were traveling together on the train that departed Amsterdam, were hailed as heroes in Europe and the U.S. after the attack.

They were later cast by Eastwood to play themselves in the film.

France24 writes: "The film — which opens in cinemas in the US and the UK on Friday — follows the course of the friends' lives, from their childhood struggles to the series of unlikely events leading up to the thwarted attack."

Rolling Stone, which gives The 15:17 to Paris mixed reviews, says: "The incident on the train lasted about two minutes, and Eastwood directs the event for every ounce of nerve-frying tension."

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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