Four American former Blackwater guards, convicted in connection with the killings of 14 unarmed Iraqis in 2007, have asked a U.S. judge for a new trial just days before they are due to be sentenced, contending that a witness statement disclosed last week contradicts the government’s case.
Last October, a U.S. federal jury convicted Paul Slough, Dustin Heard, and Evan Liberty of voluntary and attempted manslaughter and Nicholas Slatten of murder in relation to the deaths of Iraqis at a Baghdad traffic circle.
The heavily armed four-truck Blackwater Worldwide convoy had been trying to clear a path for U.S. diplomats. The defendants had argued at their trial that they believed the first car they opened fire on, a white Kia sedan, contained a car bomb.
In their emergency motion filed Friday morning, the defendants’ lawyers said that evidence disclosed Wednesday by the U.S. government as part of the victim impact statements suggests a key witness “directly contradicts” the prosecutors’ case regarding the shooting of the driver and passenger of that car.