BAGHDAD — The Justice Department will appeal the dismissal of an indictment against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards accused of fatally shooting 14 Iraqis in September 2007, Vice President Biden told Iraqi officials Saturday.
“While we fully respect the independence and integrity of the U.S. judicial system, we were disappointed by the judge’s decision to dismiss the indictment,” Biden said after meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
Legal experts say getting U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina’s ruling overturned is a long shot because his 90-page opinion clearly detailed errors made by investigators and prosecutors who worked on the case.
Under the law, the appellate court would have to find that Urbina’s findings were “clearly erroneous” to reinstate the indictment — a turn of events considered unlikely.
“By announcing this decision in Iraq, through an elected official, the United States makes clear that it has decided to do what is politically expedient, rather than what is just based on Judge Urbina’s unshakeable findings of prosecutorial misconduct and egregious violations,” Steven McCool, an attorney for Donald Ball, one of the guards, said in a statement.