WASHINGTON (AP) - There was more than enough untainted evidence to justify a trialfor five Blackwater Worldwide guards involved in a deadly 2007shooting in Baghdad, the Justice Department told a federal appealscourt.
In court papers seeking to reinstate criminal charges, thedepartment asserted that some of the evidence tainted by immunizedstatements in the case was harmless and did not justify scuttlingthe manslaughter charges against the guards.
In December, a federal judge dismissed the case against thesecurity guards, who had opened fire on a crowded Baghdad street.Seventeen people were killed, including women and children, in ashooting that inflamed anti-American sentiment in Iraq.
In the filing released Wednesday by the appeals court, thegovernment said the judge who dismissed the charges lost sight ofthe key question of whether the defendants' testimony given under agrant of immunity from prosecution was actually used againstthem.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina "unjustifiably drew thecurtain on a meritorious prosecution," Justice Department lawyerswrote.
Urbina ruled on Dec. 31 that the Justice Department mishandledevidence and violated the guards' constitutional rights.
The Moyock, N.C.-based Blackwater, now called Xe Services, hassaid the guards were innocent, contending they were ambushed byinsurgents. Prosecutors said the shooting was unprovoked.
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