I am heartened by the Court of Appeals ruling today and am grateful the Court finally recognized the unique nature of a Blackwater Contractor’s relationship with the federal government. These men volunteered to serve their country in deadly environments not once, but twice. Each of them served in the Armed Forces, then volunteered to serve again as contracted security professionals. They served our nation with distinction and have always deserved better treatment. At trial, the US Attorney steadfastly maintained that our men initiated the firefight in Nisour Square without provocation. I was shocked when the US Attorney finally admitted, on the record, that was not the case. I hope the attorneys who appear to have deliberately misrepresented the evidence before the trial court face investigation and appropriate disciplinary action. -Erik Prince
Folks, this is hopeful news and that statement up top is an exclusive statement from Erik Prince for the Feral Jundi readership. I also posted a statement below from the Free Raven23 Facebook Page below. That page is managed by the friends and family of these men. Below that, I was also able to get a statement from Christin Caveness Slough.
My own commentary on this is that this whole deal has been incredibly political and these men have suffered because of that. This is also significant to the discourse out there, because every article or book or commentary that references the Nisour Square incident, will now have to include this history. That is if they care about the truth, or telling the whole story. –Matt
PLEASE READ ALL AND SHARE!
We received a decision today. It is not true justice, but it is a SMALL step closer to reuniting our families. But we have a LONG road to go and humbly ask for your prayers.
Nick’s conviction was overturned (because his jury did not hear evidence of his innocence), but the government has the ability to retry him. We don’t yet know if that will happen, how long it will take to decide, or what will happen to Nick during the interim (kept in custody or released).
One of Evan’s convictions was overturned.
He, Paul, and Dustin will be re-sentenced due to the misapplication of the federal weapons law to secure their 30-year mandatory minimum sentences. We don’t yet know when their resentencing will be held.
We need prayer warriors more than ever:
(1) release and no retrial for Nick; and (2) time served at re-sentencing for Dustin, Evan, and Paul SOON.
Christin Cavness Slough statement.
While I am thrilled that Nick Slatten’s completely erroneous conviction has been vacated, the remaining convictions being upheld is why I no longer trust, or respect, our federal judicial system. There was an opportunity here for the court to finally show that it could deliver justice within the clearly framed boundaries of the law and failed to even issue a coherent or unified opinion. It is an additional small victory that the court finally recognizes that the federal weapons law, used to force 30 year mandatory minimum sentences, was woefully misapplied however calling it a tragedy that it was applied in the first place would be a gross understatement. We remain hopeful that all four of these men will be home where they belong sooner rather than later, but this was not the firm step in that direction that we had hoped or that the law required.
A federal appeals court Friday overturned a former Blackwater security contractor’s first-degree murder conviction in connection with a 2007 shooting in Baghdad that killed 14 Iraqi civilians and injured 17 others.
In a split decision, the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia Circuit ruled a lower court erred by not allowing Nicholas Slatten to be tried separately from his three co-defendants in 2014.
Slatten, 33, had been sentenced to life in prison for his role in the shooting, in which prosecutors claimed he had fired the first shots.
The court also ordered new sentences for the three other contractors — Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Herd — who were each found guilty of manslaughter and firearms charges carrying mandatory 30-year terms.
The judges determined those sentences were “grossly disproportionate to their culpability for using government-issued weapons in a war-zone.” Prosecutors had charged the men with using military firearms while committing another felony. That statute, typically employed against gang members or bank robbers, had never before been used against overseas security contractors working for the U.S. government.
It was not immediately clear whether prosecutors planned to try Slatten again for murder.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is reviewing the opinion and has no further comment at this time,” spokesman William Miller told Fox News
At the weeks long trial three years ago, federal prosecutors and defense lawyers presented very different versions of what triggered the September 2007 massacre in Nisour Square.
The government described the killings as a one-sided ambush of unarmed civilians, while the defense said the guards opened fire only after a white Kia sedan seen as a potential suicide car bomb began moving quickly toward their convoy. After the shooting stopped, no evidence of a bomb was found.
In issuing their ruling benefiting the defendants, the judges said they were in no way excusing the horror of events they said “defies civilized description.”
“In reaching this conclusion, we by no means intend to minimize the carnage attributable to Slough, Heard and Liberty’s actions,” said U.S. Circuit Judge Karen L. Henderson, writing for the court. “Their poor judgments resulted in the deaths of many innocent people.”
Fox News’ Jake Gibson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.