Decorated War Vets Who Claim Wrongful Conviction Ask for New Trial

Associated Press

Four decorated veterans, convicted of allegedly shooting into a crowd of Iraqi civilians indiscriminately while working as private security contractors hired by the federal government, recently filed a motion to persuade their trial judge to promptly rule on their new trial request, arguing that the Obama administration used perjured testimony to secure their guilty verdicts.

Some of the veterans’ family members believe the case was politicized from the start. The incident that led to their conviction took place in a war-zone engagement in Iraq back in September 2007.

All four men were convicted and sentenced this past April for their role in allegedly killing 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women and children, and wounding 18 others on Sept. 16, 2007, at Nisur Square in Baghdad, while working as Blackwater security contractors hired by the State Department.

The defendants argue that they acted in self-defense.

Nevertheless, Nicholas Slatten of Sparta, TN, was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. The other three decorated veterans—Paul Slough of Keller, TX, Evan Liberty of Rochester, NH, and Dustin Heard of Maryville, TN—were convicted of various counts of voluntary manslaughter and attempted manslaughter, in addition to a firearms offense, and sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison.

On Tuesday, the defendants filed a request for an opportunity to argue in favor or their new trial motions or address any related-outstanding information.

If that request is denied, the defendants ask that the court promptly rule on the their new trial motions.

The decorated veterans have been sitting behind bars for ten and a half months now, notes their September 8 request, after a Washington, D.C. civilian jury convicted them on Oct. 22, 2014.

Five months ago, President Obama’s Department of Justice disclosed a document revealing that a key government witness, an Iraqi police officer, perjured his trial testimony and has since made new statements that could clear all four men of criminal wrongdoing.

“On April 8, 2015, the government disclosed for the first time a ‘victim impact statement’ submitted by Iraqi traffic policeman Sarhan Moneim, which directly contradicted his trial… testimony and is exculpatory as to all Defendants… Defendants promptly notified the Court the next day of their intent to file a motion for a new trial,” notes the defendant’s latest request, obtained by Breitbart News.

The motion for a new trial has been sitting on the desk of Federal Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the District of Columbia, who tried the case, for over four months since it was filed on April 27.

On July 13, the court resolved all outstanding issues in the case except for the pending new trial motions.

The motion filed on Tuesday is aimed at securing the judge’s ruling on a new trial, or failing that, allowing the defendants to appeal what they believe are numerous rights violations and erroneous legal rulings that led to their unjust convictions.

“Defendants respectfully request an opportunity to argue the pending motions, or to address at a status conference any outstanding information the Court may need to resolve the motions,” states the new motion.

“In the event the Court denies this request, Defendants respectfully ask the Court to rule on their new trial motions promptly, so they can proceed either to new trial or to appeal,” it adds. “Defendants believe they have significant issues to pursue on appeal, but their appeal cannot begin until their new trial motions are resolved.”

Defendant Slatten is also requesting that the federal court rule on his motion to unseal the DOJ’s prosecution memo.

The filed motions are ready for oral argument or resolution, argue the defendants.

When asked to comment by Breitbart News on the allegation that DOJ used perjured testimony to secure the guilty verdicts of the four former State Department contractors in July, Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office that handled the case, declined to comment.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.