RAVEN 23 CASE RECEIVES NATIONAL ATTENTION
Nick Slatten's 2018 Second AND Third Trials
Jury selection began in Nick Slatten's second trial on June 18, 2018, but was interrupted until June 25, 2018, for further litigation regarding last-minute revelations of additional exculpatory evidence and bad faith by the government. Nick received a new trial after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Nick’s first trial was not fair because evidence of his innocence was hidden from his jury. On September 5, 2018, a mistrial was declared in Nick’s second trial when his jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. Just days later, the government announced its intent to try Nick a third time, and that trial is underway. With new allegations of government misconduct surfacing, those who are following the case can only wonder whether the third time around will be any different and are thankful to those who are keeping Nick's case on the public conscience.
And those efforts have not been in vain. Just days before opening statements are set to begin in Nick’s third trial, the media expanded its coverage of the case beyond the evidence proving that someone besides Nick killed the Kia’s driver. Just prior to opening statements in Nick’s third trial, on November 2, 2018, USA Today published an article referencing the evidence of whom Nick shot and why his actions were justified. Will this evidence convince Nick’s third jury to send him home, or will the government’s emotional appeals in a highly political case again result in Nick being held accountable for shots—both to the Kia’s driver and others—that simply were not his and therefore should not be his to defend? (Read the USA Today Article Here.)
Other articles also provide important coverage of Nick’s second and third trials:
We're Still Fighting to #FreeRaven23
Following a 2017 appellate decision that is anything but true justice and the Supreme Court of the United States' refusal to take up the Raven 23 case, we are still fighting to expose the misconduct that resulted in the unjust convictions of Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard, and Nick Slatten. Although Nick’s conviction was overturned and he is scheduled to be tried for a third time in October 2018, Paul, Evan, and Dustin have yet to receive any relief from their wrongful convictions. Recent articles highlight the injustice.
Response to Raven 23 Appellate Decision
On August 4, 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court of appeals issued its decision in the Raven 23 Appeal overturning Nick Slatten's conviction and one of Evan Liberty's convictions but giving the government the option to retry Nick and ordering resentencing for Evan, Dustin Heard, and Paul Slough.
In the aftermath, Erik Prince called for the investigation and discipline of government prosecutors who misrepresented that there was no enemy fire to the jury only to admit there was enemy fire on appeal. (Read Full Article)
Paul Slough's wife, Christin, told reporters, "We're just going to continue to have faith in God because our government has failed us repeatedly." (Read Full Article)
Other Media Coverage
Check back often to read more news and stories about the fight to Free Raven 23
The New York Times
Blackwater Guards Found Guilty in 2007 Iraq Killings
The day the jury returned its shocking verdict, which as even The New York Times noted, "came down to the testimony of witnesses[,] many [of whom] told conflicting stories, forcing prosecutors to urge jurors to believe some aspects of their own case and discount others," defense attorneys for the men of Raven 23 took to the press to defend their clients:
" 'Nick Slatten is innocent,' his lawyer, Thomas Connolly, said after the verdicts were announced. 'We're disappointed that the jury found otherwise, but the jury's verdict does not change the reality of what happened - and what didn't happen - in Nisour Square.' "
" 'This was wrong,' " said David Schertler, a lawyer for Mr. Heard. 'This verdict is incomprehensible.' "
" 'There's more to be done on this case,' William F. Coffield, a lawyer for Mr. Liberty, said as he left court."
Erik Prince: DOJ Admits Blackwater Contractors Were Caught in Enemy Crossfire
Mr. Prince, who attended the oral arguments, sat down with John Hayward after the January 2017 oral arguments: "I feel terrible for the guys. I feel terrible for their families." (Read Full Article)
Decorated War Vets Who Claim Wrongful Conviction Ask for New Trial
"[In April 2015], 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." (Read Full Article)
Family: DOJ used Perjured Testimony to Secure Guilty Verdicts on War Vets Working as Blackwater Guards
Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors used perjured testimony to secure guilty verdicts for four decorated veterans accused of indiscriminately shooting into a crowd of Iraqi civilians in September 2007 while working as private contractors for Blackwater, argue some of the defendants’ family members.
(Read Full Article)
Court Denies Trial for Vets Claiming DOJ Used Perjured Testimony
" 'We are disappointed by the court's decision and look forward to pursuing these and other serious issues on appeal,' the defendants' lawyer Brian Heberlig told Breitbart News." (Read Full Article)
Circa - www.circa.com
A prosecutor admitted that convicted Blackwater guards may have been shot at first
"In a remarkable reversal, U.S. government lawyers now acknowledge that former Blackwater security guards . . . may have come under enemy fire BEFORE they discharged their weapons[.]" (Read Full Article)
WATE - Knoxville, TN
Tennessee families of convicted Blackwater guards hope for an appeal
On their way to the airport to fly to D.C. together for the January 2017 oral arguments in the Raven 23 appeal, Nick Slatten's mother and Dustin Heard's wife drummed up some news coverage for their wrongly-imprisoned heroes when NO ONE else was talking about the case.
Chosen Generation Radio
For over two years Chosen Generation Radio and Pastor Greg have been following and reporting on the fate of four men who were involved in a shooting in Iraq in 2007. Pastor Greg spent time with family and friends of these men and reviewed the case. This was the first case where US personnel who came under attack and returned fire were tried and convicted for doing their jobs. Now new evidence has come forward as the Prosecutor in the case appears to have perjured herself. Sara Carter an investigative reporter with Circa News who has worked with AMI and uncovered documents exposing the ISIS plan has the story. Following her will be reaction from Christin Slough the wife of Paul Slough and a key figure in the fight for these men's freedom.
Thanks to articles like THIS ONE--featuring an independent, expert use-of-force review of the Nisur Square engagement--the truth about what really happened on the ground is getting out there. Read HERE to learn why seasoned experts found Raven 23's actions "objectively reasonable."
DCX - www.dcxposed.com
Blackwater's Raven 23 Case Rigged by Scandal Plagued DOJ
Seventy-one check marks beside the word “guilty.” So ended the months-long 2014 trial against decorated combat veterans and former Department of State contractors Nick Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard.
(Read Full Article)
Sean Hannity - www.hannity.com
OP-ED: Massacre of Justice: Blackwater's Raven 23 Convictions
Today, four members of Blackwater’s Tactical Support Team Raven 23 will appear in federal court in Washington, DC. These decorated veterans will not wear dress blues adorned with medals earned for honorable military service. Instead, they will wear jumpsuits and shackles, and Judge Royce C. Lamberth will likely sentence them to the rest of their lives in prison. One of these men is my brother, Nick Slatten, and the others are my friends Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard.
(Read Full Article)
Above the Law - www.abovethelaw.com
A Vindictive Prosecution Motion in the Continuing Saga of Nicholas Slatten
"It's a little odd for the government to bring new charges, which are harder to prove than the original charges, only after the original charges have been dismissed. And it's especially odd for that to happen after the government was on the receiving end of a relatively strongly worded slap-down (ed. note: BenchslapTM) from the D.C. Circuit."
(Read Full Article)
Law 360 - www.law360.com
Defense Attys Support Blackwater Guards In DC Circ. Appeal
"The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers . . . threw its weight behind four former Blackwater guards' efforts to overturn their convictions from a 2007 shooting in Iraq, telling the D.C. Circuit the case is rife with 'prosecutorial overreaching and vindictiveness.' " (Read Full Article)
DC Circ. Won't Let Blackwater Guard Unseal Info for Appeal
"The D.C. Circuit [just four days before oral arguments] declined to allow a former Blackwater guard convicted of murder over a 2007 shooting in Iraq to unseal certain statements he claims support overturning his conviction, saying he would have to present the statements in a closed session." (Read Full Article)
The Washington Times
EDITORIAL: The Blackwater lynching
Providing important context, this editorial, written after the original trial judge (Ricardo Urbina) threw out the case based on constitutional rights violations (before Obama's administration vindictively retaliated with new charges), hits on the political motivation for the illegal Raven 23 prosecution:
"The Blackwater matter framed SOFA negotiations in 2008, particularly when discussion turned to criminal jurisdiction over contractors. Decree 17, issued in 2003 by U.S. Administrator in Iraq L. Paul Bremer under the auspices of the Coalition Provisional Authority, had given contractors immunity from Iraqi laws. Iraqis saw this as an infringement on their sovereignty that facilitated tragedies like that at Nisour Square. The draft SOFA agreement was hammered out in the summer and fall of 2008, while the Justice Department was preparing its charges against the contractors. The government of Iraq gave final approval to the agreement on Dec. 4; indictments were issued four days later; and Mr. Bush signed the SOFA the following week. The negotiation timeline suggested a quid pro quo."
Uncle Sam's Misguided Children
Part 1: Inside the Blackwater Trial
“National honor is national property of the highest value.” James Monroe, Inaugural Address, 1817. The words of our 5th President ring hollow at a time when America’s “national honor” is nearly nonexistent with regard to foreign policy and Military matters. No dishonor is more graphically displayed than what has come to be known as the “Blackwater Trial.” But it is not the defendants that have caused this label; it is the United States government’s malfeasance in prosecuting the men involved.
(Read Full Article)
Part 2: Were Blackwater Security Contractors the Fall Guys?
It would be extremely difficult to explain all the influences and issues in one series of articles on the Blackwater trial. From jurisdiction to the charges themselves, manipulation of witnesses and evidence, we will attempt show you – at least in part- how adept this administration has become in changing the narrative of ANY incident to suit their political agenda.
(Read Full Article)
Part 3: Did the Government Skew the Evidence?
Keep in mind that NO AUTOPSIES were done on any of the alleged victims. No forensic evidence was processed from even one of the people who reportedly were “massacred.” No ballistics, no corroborative testimony, just the word of Iraqis who said their relatives were killed. At least one of the “victims” was reportedly several miles away from Nisur Square at the time of the incident. Some of their stories almost gave the Blackwater team super powers.
(Read Full Article)
Part 4: Lives Destroyed by Lies
Hiding Evidence: The two photos above were taken by an American Army Captain on the day of the incident. He had been ordered to informally gather information. He maintains that he turned ALL of his photos over to the FBI…but the pictures never surfaced, nor were they provided to the defense until the middle of the trial in 2014. How can photos go missing for 7 years when they were included in a packet given to the FBI in 2007? In any criminal court in the US, when the prosecution appears to hide evidence, that case could be dismissed.
(Read Full Article)
Part 5: Battleground Raven 23 - The Sentencing
Judge Lamberth entered the courtroom on April 13, 2015, in a not-so-pleasant mood. The Federal prosecutor had built a tight case, painting a picture of men who hated the Iraqis so much that they just wanted to kill them. Using words like “massacre,” “slaughter,” and “atrocity,” he demanded an “upward departure” from standard sentencing guidelines. He stood in front of the court and declared that the 4 defendants had created a national security issue for Americans by their actions. His recommendation? Make them pay for every victim. Make an example of them.
(Read Full Article)
Imprisoned for Doing Their Duty (follow-up article after the January 2017 oral arguments)
"The narrative created by the media and the government over the men of Raven 23 was a horrendous hit job. The prosecution painted a picture of half-crazed men with machine guns who targeted innocent civilians in a shooting rampage in Nisur Square, Baghdad, September 16, 2007.
Eventually the government admitted that the men of Raven 23 were under enemy fire that day, and they knew it all along throughout the trial." (Read Full Article)
The Rochester Voice - www.therochestervoice.com
A New Hampshire publication has taken a keen interest in reporting on the false justice of the Raven 23 convictions, including that of New Hampshire's native son, Evan Liberty.
In Iraq in 2007, 'this was an everyday thing'
"This is the first of a several-part series . . . highlighting the case of Raven 23 and Rochester native Evan Liberty, who is wrongly serving a 30-year sentence in a federal prison in the infamous Nisur Square incident in Iraq of 2007." (Read Full Article)
The long and twisted prosecution of Evan Liberty and Raven 23
The trial judge "Lamberth often dozed off during the trial[, and] made clear to the jurors before they began deliberations he wasn't going to stand for anything but a verdict one way or the other. 'He said, I'm not retrying this case, you come back with a decision.' " (Read Full Article)
Friends, coaches recall a man who could not do what the government says he did
"One of Evan Liberty's most prized possessions is a picture taken in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, when as a Marine Security Guard he was assisting security for then-President George W. Bush[.] Brian Liberty said it shows that even though his son has been wrongfully imprisoned for a crime he did not commit in a time of war in Iraq in 2007, he still loves his country and is proud of his duty on its behalf." (Read Full Article)
According to the government, Raven 23 entered the square, and started shooting
"Three of the guards, including Evan Liberty of Rochester, were sentenced to [one day] for voluntary and attempted manslaughter[,] but were also given 30-year mandatory minimum sentences for using automatic weapons, whose use, ironically, had been sanctioned by the U.S. State Department so they could do their jobs[.]" (Read Full Article)
A travesty of justice? Prosecution missteps outlined in multiple appeals briefs
"To understand the vindictive and prejudiced prosecution the government employed in the trial of Rochester native Evan Liberty you need only read from the trial transcript." (Read Full Article)
N.H.'s Guinta condemns Raven 23 trial as "political, unjust"
"The trial was steeped in politics, and Evan's sentence is unjustly harsh. I have implored (U.S.) Attorney General (Loretta) Lynch to review the facts of the case. - U.S. Rep Frank Guinta" (Read Full Article)
As Evan Liberty waits for justice, the days come and go
"Locked up until 2040 at a federal prison [Evan Liberty] spends his days working out, reading voraciously, watching sports on TV and maintaining a positive attitude that his father calls key to his survival." (Read Full Article)
Guinta holds out hope HR 5662 could help free Evan Liberty
"One of the co-sponsors of HR 5662 - U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta, R-NH - said while there is little chance [this proposed amendment to the federal weapons law misapplied in the Raven 23 case to punish service] would vacate the sentence imposed on Evan Liberty, 'his legal team would have another argument to add to their appeal.' " (Read Full Article)
Murder retrial outcome may well impact Rochester man's chance at freedom
"The families of Liberty and two others held on 30-year mandatory automatic weapons charges are hoping Slatten will be found innocent and released paving the way for a hoped-for resentencing in which they are also set free after three years imprisonment in what many see as a travesty of justice for all four former Blackwater security guards serving their country in one of the most dangerous places on Earth when the so-called massacre occurred." (Read Full Article)
Allen B. West - www.allenbwest.com
US heroes/veterans WRONGFULLY imprisoned: The shocking story of Raven 23
"Clint Lorance, Charles Martland, the SEALS of Extortion 17 . . . these are stories we've shared with you many times - stories of fine Warriors and their families who've been betrayed by the very nation they pledged their lives to serve. Sadly, we have yet another . . . (Read Full Article)
The Watson Experiment
Christin Slough, wife of Raven 23 member Paul Slough, sits down with Tim Watson of The Watson Experiment
Raven 23 support team visited with Jimmy Sengenberger on two separate occasions following the April 2015 sentencing to talk about the Raven 23 case and next steps.
(Listen) https://soundcloud.com/rushtoreason/sets/4-29-15a (2B & 3A segments)
Jessica Slatten and Christin Slough visit with Fox News to discuss the sentencing of their family members for incidents that occurred in Baghdad in September 2007
The Jeff Fisher Show: The Blaze Radio Network
Christin Slough sat down with Jeffy to discuss the false justice of the Raven 23 convictions.
EXCLUSIVE: The OTHER American Sniper
Following the April 2015 sentencing in the Raven 23 case, Nick Slatten's parents sat down with the Daily Mail to talk about their son's wrongful conviction. (Read Full Article)
EXCLUSIVE: 'I haven't hugged my husband in six months, but I'll wait for him 30 years'
Following the April 2015 sentencing in the Raven 23 case, Paul Slough's wife sat down with the Daily Mail to talk about her husband's wrongful conviction. (Read Full Article)
WVLT-TV - Knoxville, TN
Wife of convicted Blackwater contractor says her husband is innocent
Following the April 2015 sentencing in the Raven 23 case, Dustin Heard's wife sat down with her local news station to discuss her husband's shocking, and wrongful, conviction. "It was a complete shock to me considering all the evidence that supports that they followed the rules of engagement. Especially, my husband[.]" (Read Full Article)
The Daily Times
Wife of convicted Blackwater security soldier tells her story
Following her husband's 2015 sentencing, Kelli Heard sat down with The Daily Times, an award-winning daily newspaper in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, serving Blount County, Tennessee, readers since 1883.
In her interview, Kelli spoke about how "the prosecution's side of the story" is "all that's been repeated" in the media.
American Forum - Miller Center
Erik Prince, former CEO of Blackwater, talks about the strong case Heard, Liberty, Slatten, and Slough have on appeal.
Free Raven 23
Here at Free Raven 23, we're proud of the videos and articles we publish to raise awareness about our fight for true justice and transparency.
To stay updated on the most recent news on the Raven 23 case, please visit our website often, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, read our blog, sign up for our monthly newsletter, and watch our videos, including:
(1) Our Viral Sign Video - Watch Here
(2) Our Team Raven 23 Video - Watch Here
Also, you can find a handy info sheet to use to help raise awareness about our fight HERE. Please share this sheet with your contacts, take it to your meetings, and post it wherever you can.
Finally, here are two press releases we have issued:
(1) Convicted Blackwater Guards Sentenced, Friends of Raven 23 and Families Vow to Fight for Release (Read Here)
(2) Convicted Blackwater Guards' Legal Team to Hold Press Conference Following Sentencing (Read Here)