Monday, November 30, 2009

Secret Hearings

While most of us were enjoying Thangsgiving dinner, Nicholas Slatten of Tennessee (pictured, right) is fighting for his freedom. Unfortunately, Slatten is one of five Blackwater security guards who allegedly participated in the Baghdad, Iraq massacre in 2007

This year the Rove Republican Racket had to drop charges against Slatten because of the lack of evidence.

However, in recent secret hearings and a filing two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Justice wants to re-open the case against Slatten.

According to the Associated Press:

The recent secret hearings focused on whether statements some of the guards gave to the State Department after the killings in Baghdad under a grant of immunity tainted the government's subsequent criminal case. U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina has yet to rule. In its court filing Wednesday, Slatten's defense team called the U.S. government's handling of the charges against Slatten "a disturbing case of prosecutorial misconduct, undermining the integrity of the judicial process."

The case against Slatten became untenable, not merely because of a fundamental lack of evidence against him, but also because the trial team repeatedly mischaracterized the testimony of witnesses and excluded evidence that ran in Slatten's favor from the grand jury that indicted him, Slatten's lawyers wrote in asking for a public hearing before the judge. "The collapse of the government's case against Mr. Slatten should be as public as the baseless allegations against him," Slatten's lawyers added. "He should not be required to endure the government's repeated public mischaracterization of the evidence while non-public proceedings tell a very different story."