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updated: 3/3/2014 11:04 AM

Ex-Blackwater contractors seek dismissal of case

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Former security contractors charged in a deadly shooting in Iraq are asking a federal judge to dismiss the case against them.

The former Blackwater Worldwide contractors are accused of taking part in a September 2007 shooting that prosecutors say killed 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad's Nisoor Square.

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Defense lawyers say the men were improperly charged under a federal statute holding military employees and contractors accountable for crimes committed overseas. The lawyers say the statute, the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, shouldn't apply to the defendants since they were in Iraq on a State Department contract.

The case has been winding through Washington's federal court for years. A judge earlier dismissed the case for a separate reason before a federal appeals court revived it. Prosecutors secured a new indictment last October.

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