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Charges against Blackwater guards shootings in Iraq in 2007 thrown out……..

The charges lodged against five Blackwater guards, arising out a shooting in the Nisour Square, in Iraq, (resulting in several civilian deaths) while they were escorting a State Department motorcade, have been dismissed by U.S. Federal District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina in a 90-page opinion ……..That is summed up by this…….

In a “reckless violation of the defendants’ constitutional rights,” the judge wrote, investigators, prosecutors and government witnesses had inappropriately relied on statements that the guards had been compelled to make in debriefings by the State Department shortly after the shootings. The State Department had hired the guards to protect its officials.

The incident and its immediate media uproar put the State Department in a hot and glaring spot light….And forced State Department investigators to push hard for information, quickly about the incident……which turned the investigation a witch hunt that bent or completely disregarded basic criminal and judicial rules…..

The judge hi lighted the facts that…..

The guards had been told by State Department investigators that they could be fired if they did not talk about the case, but that whatever they said would not be used against them in any criminal proceeding.

Nevertheless, Judge Urbina found that “in their zeal to bring charges,” investigators and prosecutors had extensively used those statements, disregarding “the warning of experienced, senior prosecutors” that “the course of action threatened the viability of prosecution.”

“The explanations offered by the prosecutors and investigators in an attempt to justify their actions and persuade the court that they did not use the defendants’ compelled testimony were all too often contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility,” Judge Urbina wrote.

The judge also criticized prosecutors for withholding “substantial exculpatory evidence” from the grand jury that indicted the defendants, as well as for presenting “distorted versions” of witnesses’ testimony and improperly telling the grand jury that some incriminating statements had been made by the defendants but were being withheld.

While the State Department’s special agents provide investigative services every day in criminal cases….and provide protection for its charges ….this case was not a shinning moment for the service…..In addition, this  isn’t the first time that Bush Department of Justice attorney’s have been slapped d on the chin by judges for sloppy legal work…….

Note:…..Blackwater has changed its name to Xe Services…….

Note #2:…They were not happy in Iraq about the judges decision…….from the Washington Post…..

In Baghdad, relatives and victims of the shooting expressed frustration when told of Urbina’s decision. “There is no justice. These [people] have to have a trial in Iraq,” said Hussein Ali, the brother of Sa’di Ali, who was killed in Nissor Square.

January 1, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Crime, Government, Law, Media, Men, Military, Politics, Travel | , , , | Leave a comment