Judge Dismisses Charges in Blackwater Shooting

He blasts Justice Department's handling of the case
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2009 4:04 PM CST
Judge Dismisses Charges in Blackwater Shooting
In this Sept. 20, 2007, file photo, an Iraqi policeman inspects a car destroyed by a Blackwater security detail in al-Nisoor Square in Baghdad.   (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)

A federal judge today dismissed charges against five Blackwater guards accused of manslaughter in a Baghdad shooting that left at least 14 people dead. The judge criticized how the Justice Department handled the high-profile case from 2007, saying that prosecutors violated the guards' rights by coercing testimony "under a threat of job loss," reports CNN.

"The explanations offered by 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," the judge wrote. Blackwater is now known as Xe. (More Blackwater stories.)

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