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Judge declares mistrial after jury deadlocks in Abu Ghraib trial

A decide declared a mistrial Thursday after a jury stated it was deadlocked and couldn’t attain a verdict in the trial of a navy contractor accused of contributing to the abuse of detainees on the Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq 20 years in the past.

The mistrial got here in the jury’s eighth day of deliberations.

The eight-member civil jury in Alexandria deadlocked on accusations the civilian interrogators who have been provided to the U.S. Army at Abu Ghraib in 2003 and 2004 had conspired with troopers there to abuse detainees as a way of “softening them up” for questioning.

The trial was the primary time a U.S. jury heard claims introduced by Abu Ghraib survivors in the 20 years since images of detainee mistreatment — accompanied by smiling U.S. troopers inflicting the abuse — shocked the world throughout the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Reston, Virginia-based CACI had argued that it wasn’t complicit in the detainees’ abuse. It stated that its workers had little to any interplay with the three plaintiffs in the case and that any legal responsibility for his or her mistreatment belonged to the federal government, not CACI.

They jury despatched out a notice Wednesday afternoon saying it was deadlocked, and indicating in specific that it was hung up on a authorized precept referred to as the “borrowed Servants” doctrine.

The plaintiffs can search a retrial.

Asked if they might achieve this, Baher Azmy with the Center for Constitutional Rights, certainly one of their legal professionals, stated, “The work we put in to this case is a fraction of what they endured as survivors of the horrors of Abu Ghraib, and we want to honor their courage.”

During the trial that began April 15, legal professionals for the three plaintiffs argued that CACI was liable for his or her mistreatment even when they couldn’t show that CACI’s interrogators have been those who instantly inflicted the abuse.

They argued that the interrogators had entered right into a conspiracy with the navy police who inflicted the abuse by instructing troopers to “soften up” detainees for questioning.

The proof included reports from two retired Army generals, who documented the abuse and concluded that a number of CACI interrogators have been complicit in the abuse.

Those studies concluded that one of many interrogators, Steven Stefanowicz, lied to investigators about his conduct, and that he doubtless instructed troopers to mistreat detainees and used canine to intimidate detainees throughout interrogations.

Stefanowicz testified for CACI at trial by way of a recorded video deposition and denied mistreating detainees.

CACI officers initially had critical doubts about his potential to work as an interrogator, in accordance with proof launched at trial. An e-mail despatched by CACI official Tom Howard earlier than the corporate despatched interrogators to Iraq described Stefanowicz as a “NO-GO for filling an interrogator position.”

CACI initially despatched Stefanowicz over to Iraq not as an interrogator however as a screener, however he testified that the Army — desperately wanting interrogators at a jail with a quickly increasing inhabitants — promoted him to interrogator inside a day of his arrival.

Trial proof confirmed that CACI defended the work of one other of its interrogators, Dan Johnson, even after the Army sought his dismissal when images of the Abu Ghraib abuse grew to become public, and one of many images confirmed Johnson questioning a detainee in a crouched place that Army investigators decided to be an unauthorized stress place.

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