Federal prosecutors’ renewed case against four former private security guards charged with fatally shooting more than a dozen Iraqi civilians in 2007 has survived an initial challenge.
A federal judge in Washington in 2009 dismissed the first case after finding that prosecutors improperly relied on protected statements made by the guards. The government filed a new indictment in late 2013. The guards’ lawyers argued prosecutors again unlawfully built the revived case on the protected statements.
In December, U.S. District Senior Judge Royce Lamberth heard evidence during a six-day hearing that was closed to the public. He issued an order on Wednesday denying the guards’ motion to dismiss the indictment on the grounds it was tainted by their protected statements. Other challenges to the case are still pending.
Lamberth’s opinion explaining his decision is sealed. He gave the lawyers 10 days to propose redactions that would allow him to publicly release the ruling. A trial is scheduled for June.