Judge Refuses To Toss Charges In Blackwater Case

A federal judge has given a green light to the manslaughter case against five former Blackwater Worldwide security guards accused of spraying innocent Iraqis with machine-gun fire.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina on Tuesday denied two motions to dismiss the case.

The shooting in Baghdad in September 2007 left 17 Iraqis dead and another 20 wounded.

The former Blackwater guards argue they are not subject to U.S. civilian criminal laws because they were working overseas under a
contract with the State Department.

A legal loophole says only contractors who work for or support
the Defense Department can be prosecuted in U.S. courts for crimes
committed overseas.

The judge said the issue should be heard at trial. The company is based in North Carolina.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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