Aug 4, 2017

Murder conviction thrown out for Blackwater shooting in Iraq

AP Photo

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit panel has thrown out the first-degree murder conviction of former Blackwater Worldwide security guard Nicholas A. Slatten, and ordered re-sentencings for three others, The Washington Post reports.

  • The four were sentencing in 2015 for the 2007 killings of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.
  • The court ruled that the trial court "abused its discretion" in not allowing Slatten to be tried separately from three co-defendants since he alone faced a murder charge. The court has ordered a new trial, per the NYT.
  • The court has also ordered re-sentencing for Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard, ruling their 30-year terms violated constitutional safeguards against "cruel and unusual punishment."

Catch up on the case: Prosecutors said the security guards falsely claimed their convoy was threatened by a car bomber, which led them to fire machine guns and grenade launchers in a reckless way. The guards said they were acting in self-defense. No witness testified that they saw the guards threatened by firings.

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Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday night across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day — prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: The Army moved 1,600 soldiers from out of state into D.C. area, the Defense Department confirmed in a statement Tuesday. Protesters were still out en masse for mostly after curfews began in cities including Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and Portland.

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In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

Iowa Rep. Steve King defeated in GOP primary

Rep. Steve King. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

State Sen. Randy Feenstra defeated incumbent Rep. Steve King in Tuesday's Republican primary for Iowa's 4th congressional district, according to the Cook Political Report.

Why it matters: King's history of racist remarks has made him one of the most controversial politicians in the country and a pariah within the Republican Party.