A federal appeals court has ordered a criminal case to continue against four Blackwater guards who allegedly shot and killed Iraqi civilians in 2007 in Baghdad.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed a lower-court ruling dismissing indictments against the four guards of Blackwater, which has since changed its name to Xe.
"We find that the district court's findings depend on an erroneous view of the law," the appeals court stated. "We thus vacate and remand the case for the court to determine, as to each defendant, what evidence—if any—the government presented against him that was tainted as to him, and, in the case of any such presentation, whether in light of the entire record the government had shown it to have been harmless beyond a reasonable doubt."
Dean Boyd, spokesman for the Justice Department, said: "We're pleased with the ruling and assessing the next steps."
The appeals court upheld, however, dismissing an indictment against a fifth Blackwater guard.
This article appears in the April 22, 2011 edition of National Journal Daily PM Update.