gina - 8/8/2017 at 06:50 PM
The FBI agents have found out that senior officials in the US Justice Department intentionally attempted to undermine the case of Blackwater security guards’ fatal shooting of Iraqi civilians in 2007, internal emails revealed.
Several emails, obtained by the New York Times, however, revealed that the department’s senior officials were against the move and sought to drop some of the charges in an effort to lighten the sentences.
In December 2008, as the Justice Department prepared to ask a grand jury to vote on an indictment, the lead FBI agent, John Patarini received an email from Kenneth Kohl, a federal prosecutor who had written, “We are getting some serious resistance from our office to charging the defendants with mandatory minimum time.”
Patarini, however, replied, “I would rather not present for a vote now and wait until the new administration takes office than to get an indictment that is an insult to the individual victims, the Iraqi people as a whole, and the American people who expect their Justice Department to act better than this.”
He also forwarded it to colleagues and superiors.
A federal appeals court in the United States has overturned lengthy prison sentences for three former Blackwater Worldwide mercenaries and ordered a new trial for a fourth involved in the 2007 killings of more than a dozen of unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women and children.
The Blackwater employees had been charged with killing 14 Iraqi civilians and wounding 18 others using gunfire and grenades at a busy Baghdad intersection on September 16, 2007. An FBI agent once described the atrocity as the “My Lai massacre of Iraq.”
Three mercenaries Dustin L. Heard, Evan S. Liberty and Paul A. Slough were convicted in 2014 of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter and using a machine gun – a military weapon -- to carry out an atrocity. They were sentenced to 30 years in prison. They received the enhanced penalty because they were also convicted of using military firearms while committing a felony.
On Friday, the three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the trial court “abused its discretion” in not allowing Slatten to be tried separately from his three co-defendants, despite the fact that Slatten fired the first shots in the massacre.
The court also found that the 30-year terms of the three other convicts violated the constitutional prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishment.”
“We are gratified that the Court recognized the gross injustice of the 30-year mandatory minimum sentences,” Heard’s attorney, David Schertler, said in a statement. Attorneys for the three other men refused to respond to the ruling.
REMARKS: Hiring mercenaries to kill women and children is okay, but sending those people to jail is "cruel and unusual punishment". This is the reality of what we have become as a culture and a nation. This is why others nations hate America and call us hypocrites. Yet we sit here and expect the agencies who purportedly stand for justice to investigate any wrongdoing. Do you really expect anything on the Russian election meddling? Fuggedabout it. They did nothing about the Democrats sabotaging the election because they are apparently all on the same team.
glazed67 - 8/8/2017 at 07:03 PM
That's ironic, Erik Prince of Blackwater fame and current Education Secretary Betsy Devos' brother, is looking to do the same thing again in Afghanistan. I bet he gets the gig and the billions. MAGA!!