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Monday, July 15, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

No Misconduct Found |in Blackwater Case

(CN) - A federal judge in Washington, D.C., rejected the appeal of two former Blackwater security guards who argued that prosecutorial misconduct barred the government from seeking another indictment against them over the 2007 Nisoor Square shootings.

The government had accused the former guards of opening fire on Iraqi civilians in Baghdad's Nisoor Square, killing 17 and wounding about 20 others.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina last month dismissed the entire indictment against the five Blackwater guards involved in the shootings, finding that prosecutors had improperly used the compelled, immunized testimony of the guards to obtain the indictment.

Former Blackwater guards Nicholas Slatten and Donald Ball moved to have the indictments dismissed with prejudice on the grounds that the government did not have enough untainted evidence to re-indict them.

Slatten said the government has no case against him without the tainted testimonies of Blackwater unit members Adam Frost and Matthew Murphy.

But Urbina refused to speculate on the untainted evidence, saying the issue is best left to a grand jury, not the court.

Urbina saw no reason to permanently bar federal prosecutors from reviving the case, despite the "disregard" they showed in seeking the original indictment.

In his dismissal last month, Urbina wrote: "The court is not persuaded that the additional, extreme sanction of dismissal with prejudice is justified."

As the case now stands, prosecutors could revive the case with enough untainted evidence against the former Blackwater guards.

"Because the court finds no legal justification warranting dismissal with prejudice, the court denies the defendants' motions," Urbina wrote.

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