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US govt misconduct in Blackwater case: Lawyers

Last Updated: Thursday, November 26, 2009 - 23:37

Washington: Defence lawyers are alleging
misconduct by Justice Department prosecutors in the case
against one of five Blackwater security guards accused in the
killings of 17 Iraqis in Baghdad.

Recent pre-trial proceedings that took place behind
closed doors led the Justice Department to seek dismissal of
charges against Nicholas Slatten, one of the five guards
accused in the shootings in busy Nisoor Square in September
2007.

In a one-paragraph filing a week ago, the department
disclosed that it wants to preserve the possibility of filing
a new set of charges against Slatten.

Yesterday, Slatten`s lawyers said in court papers they
want to stop the Justice Department from doing so and that the
issue should be aired in a public court hearing.

The recent secret hearings focused on whether statements
some of the guards gave to the State Department after the
killings in Baghdad under a grant of immunity tainted the
government`s subsequent criminal case.

US District Judge Ricardo Urbina has yet to rule.

In its court filing yesterday, Slatten`s defence team
called the US government`s handling of the charges against
Slatten "a disturbing case of prosecutorial misconduct,
undermining the integrity of the judicial process."

PTI

First Published: Thursday, November 26, 2009 - 23:37
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