The feds have charged two former Blackwater guards with second degree murder and attempted murder in the Eastern District of Virginia.
They are Justin Cannon, 27, and Chris Drotleff, 29. Both are in custody. The charges arise from a shooting in Kabul in which two Afghans were killed.
Both men have said in recent interviews with The Associated Press that they were justified in opening fire on a car that caused an accident in front of their vehicle, then turned and sped toward them after they got out to help.
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"The Justice Department and the FBI cannot discuss the facts of the Blackwater case, which is under active investigation. However, any suggestion that the Blackwater employees in question have been given immunity from federal criminal prosecution is inaccurate. The Justice Department and the FBI continue the criminal investigation of this matter knowing that this investigation involves a number of complex issues. We are unable to comment further at this time."
Wording of Blackwater Immunity Deals
ABC News has obtained the text of the use immunity provided Blackwater guards by the State Department.
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The Center for Constitutional Rights has sued Blackwater on behalf of an injured survivor and three families of men killed when Blackwater contractors allegedly opened fire on innocent Iraqis in Nisoor Square in Baghdad on Sept. 16. The case is Estate of Himoud Saed Atban, et al. v. Blackwater USA, et al. (C.A. No. 07-1831.) A copy of the complaint is here(pdf).
Filed in Washington, D.C. federal court by Talib Mutlaq Deewan and the estates of the deceased men – Himoud Saed Atban, Usama Fadhil Abbass, and Oday Ismail Ibraheem – the lawsuit alleges that Blackwater and its affiliated companies violated U.S. law and “created and fostered a culture of lawlessness amongst its employees, encouraging them to act in the company’s financial interests at the expense of innocent human life.”
The complaint alleges that Blackwater violated the federal Alien Tort Statute in committing extrajudicial killing and war crimes, and that Blackwater should be liable for claims of assault and battery, wrongful death, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring, training and supervision.
Both compensatory and punitive damages are being sought.
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