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Defense Says U.S. Government Hid Blackwater Evidence

Lawyers for Blackwater security guards said Monday that the government has suppressed evidence favorable to defendants who are on trial in the 2007 killings of 14 Iraqis in Nisoor Square in Baghdad. U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen says that "a series of innocent oversights" led to the problem.

The defense team for the four former Blackwater guards says the suppressed evidence consists of photographs of eight spent shell casings that would fit an AK-47 — the weapon of choice used by insurgents as well as Iraqi authorities.

Image: Eight spent shell casings from the scene of the shootings of 14 Iraqui in Nisoor Square in Baghdad in 2007
A photo shows eight spent shell casings from the scene of the shootings of 14 Iraqis in Nisoor Square in Baghdad in 2007. The image has turned up at a crucial point in the trial of four Blackwater security guards. AP

A court filing by the defense attorneys says a U.S. Army captain took the photographs at a bus stop several hundred feet from Nisoor Square and that they never saw the light of day until federal prosecutors turned them over last Wednesday. The photos could become an important part of the case. They could bolster the accounts of the security guards, who say they were being fired upon by insurgents and that the guards were simply returning fire.

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- Associated Press