As we wrote earlier, all criminal charges against the five defendants were dropped right before the New Year because of what Urbina termed "reckless" prosecutorial misconduct.
A federal judge has opted not to impose a finding of prosecutorial misconduct on Justice Department lawyers for their handling of a case against Blackwater security guards involved in a 2007 shooting in Baghdad. In Federal District Court here last month, Judge Ricardo M. Urbina threw out all charges against the five involved in the shootings, which left 17 Iraqis dead and about 20 wounded.
In that decision, Judge Urbina wrote that in a “reckless violation of the defendants’ constitutional rights,” investigators, prosecutors and government witnesses had inappropriately relied on statements the guards had been compelled to make in debriefings by the State Department shortly after the shootings. The State Department had hired the guards to protect its officials.
But in a ruling on Tuesday, Judge Urbina said he would not take what he called the “extreme” step of prohibiting prosecutors from reviving the case. Had Judge Urbina ruled that prosecutors committed misconduct, it could have set off an internal Justice Department investigation and led to sanctions against the prosecutors.