For more than a week, in a court hearing closed to the public, Justice Department lawyers defended the prosecution of five Blackwater security guards charged in the fatal shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians who came under fire in a shoot-out in September 2007.

On Nov. 20, Justice lawyers moved to dismiss without prejudice the charges against one of the defendants, Nicholas Slatten, in court papers that were filed under seal. The trial attorneys said an April 2009 protective order required keeping the court papers from the public.

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