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The Blackwater Killings - Criminal Case II

U.S. vs. Jeremy P. Ridgeway

 

 

U.S. vs. Jeremy P. Ridgeway

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Case-No.: 1:08-cr-00341-RMU-1

Filed on November 18th, 2008

 

March 16th, 2010 - Order

September 14th, 2009 - Order

February 10th, 2009 - Order

February 10th, 2009 - Minute Order

January 7th, 2009 - Order

December 5th, 2008 - Minute Entry for Proceedings

December 5th, 2008 - Government’s Unopposed Motion to Unseal Certain Filings

December 5th, 2008 - Waiver of Indictment

December 5th, 2008 - Waiver of Trial by Jury

December 4th, 2008 - Superseding Information

November 18th, 2008 - Minute Entry for Proceedings

November 18th, 2008 - Conditions of Release

November 18th, 2008 - Affidavit in Support of Application for Arrest Warrant

November 18th, 2008 - Factual Proffer in Support of Guilty Plea

November 14th, 2008 - Information

 

 

March 16th, 2010 - Order

 

“[…] It is this 16th day of March, 2010, hereby ordered that the status hearing scheduled for April 6, 2010 is vacated. So ordered. […]”

 

September 14th, 2009 - Order

 

“[…] It is this 14th day of September 2009 ordered a status hearing in the above-captioned case shall take place on April 6, 2010 at 10:15. So ordered. […]”

 

February 10th, 2009 - Order

 

“[…] It is this 10th day of February 2009, hereby ordered a status hearing in the above-captioned case shall take place on September 14, 2009 at 10:15 am. So ordered. […]”

 

February 10th, 2009 - Minute Order

 

“Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Ricardo M. Urbina:Status Hearing as to Jeremy P. Ridgeway held on 2/10/2009. A further Status Hearing is scheduled for 9/14/2009 at 10:15 A.M. in Courtroom 30, Annex Building, Sixth Floor, before Judge Ricardo M. Urbina. Case not referred at this time. Bond Status of Defendant: Personal Recognizance […]”

 

January 7th, 2009 - Order

 

“[…] it is this 7th day of January, 2009, hereby, ordered that all matters filed and docketed in the case of United States v. Jeremy Ridgeway, Crim. No.08-341 (RMU) shall be unsealed by the Clerk of Court, with the exception of the following documents and transcripts that will remain sealed for a period of 60 days from the issuance of this order:

 

“1. Transcripts from any plea hearings held on November 18, 2008 and December 5, 2008.

 

“2. Any plea agreements entered into the record on November 18, 2008 or December 5, 2008.

 

“3. Any government motions to seal and sealing orders issued by the Court in relation to any plea proceedings that occurred on November 18, 2008 and December 5, 2008. […]”

 

December 5th, 2008 - Minute Entry for Proceedings

 

“Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Ricardo M. Urbina: Arraignment as to Jeremy P. Ridgeway (1) on Counts 1s and 2s held on 12/5/2008. Defendant sworn and plea of guilty entered as to Counts 1s and 2s. Court adopts the Plea Agreement and Factual Proffer filed in the this case on 11/18/08. Status Conference set for 2/10/2009 at 10:00 AM in Courtroom 30A before Judge Ricardo M. Urbina. Case not referred for a Pre-sentence Investigation Report at this time. Bond Status of Defendant: Defendant placed on previous Personal Recognizance Order entered on 11/18/08 with same conditions. […]”

 

December 5th, 2008 - Government’s Unopposed Motion to Unseal Certain Filings

 

“[…] The United States of America, by and through its attorney, the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, respectfully moves the Court to unseal certain filings in this case and to instruct the Clerk of Court to enter these filings on the public docket. The United States requests that the Court maintain its sealing Order in all other respects. […]”

 

December 5th, 2008 - Waiver of Indictment

 

“[…] I, Jeremy P. Ridgeway, the above named defendant who is accused of Voluntary Manslaughter; Title 18, United States Code Sections 3261(a)(1) and 1112 and Attempt to Commit Manslaughter; Title 18, United States Code, Section 3261(a)(1) and 1113 and Aiding and Abetting and Causing an Act to be Done; Title 18, United States Code, Section 2 and being advised of the nature of the charge(s), the proposed information, and of my rights, hereby waive in open court December 5,2008, prosecution by indictment and consent that the proceeding may be by information rather than indictment. […]”

 

December 5th, 2008 - Waiver of Trial by Jury

 

“[…] With the consent of the U.S. Attorney and the approval of the Court, the defendant waives his right to trial by jury. […]”

 

December 4th, 2008 - Superseding Information

 

“[…] The United States Attorney charges that: At all times relevant to this Information:

 

“1. On or about September 16, 2007, defendant Jeremy P. Ridgeway was employed by the Armed Forces outside the United States, as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 3267 (1), that is:

 

“a. The defendant was an employee and a subcontractor of Blackwater Worldwide, a company contracting with the United States Department of State, who was employed to provide personal security services in the Republic of Iraq, which employment related to supporting the mission of the United States Department of Defense in the Republic of Iraq.

 

“[…] Count One (Voluntary Manslaughter)

 

“5. On or about September 16, 2007, defendant Jeremy P. Ridgeway, and other joint offenders known to the United States Attorney, unlawfully and intentionally, upon a sudden quarrel and heat of passion, did commit voluntary manslaughter, as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 1112, by killing Mahassin Mohssen Kadhum Al-Khazali. […]”

 

November 18th, 2008 - Minute Entry for Proceedings

 

“Minute Entry for proceedings held before Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth:Arraignment as to Jeremy P. Ridgeway (1) on Counts 1 and 2 held on 11/18/2008. Arrest warrant issued this date returned executed as defendant self-surrendered to the F.B.I. Plea of guilty entered on Counts 1 and 2. Defendant surrendered his passport to the Clerk's Office. Referral for presentence investigation report is deferred. Status Conference set for 2/10/2009 10:00 AM in Courtroom 30A before Judge Ricardo M. Urbina. Bond Status of Defendant: defendant is placed on personal recognizance bond; release issued; […]”

 

November 18th, 2008 - Conditions of Release

 

November 18th, 2008 - Affidavit in Support of Application for Arrest Warrant

 

“[…] I, John M. Patarini, a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), being first duly sworn, hereby depose and state as follows:

 

“1. I make this affidavit in support of an arrest warrant for Jeremy P. Ridgeway,

 

“2. I have been a Special Agent of the FBI since 1989, and I am currently assigned to the Counterterrorism Squad CT-2, Counterterrorism Division, Washington Field Office. As a Special Agent of the FBI, I am authorized to investigate crimes in which the United States is or may be a party in interest, and perform other duties imposed by law.

 

“3. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been investigating possible violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1112 (Voluntary Manslaughter), 1113 (Attempt to Commit Manslaughter), and related weapon charges, arising out of a September 16, 2007 fatal shooting at Nisur Square in Baghdad, Iraq involving employees of a U.S. government contractor, Blackwater Worldwide. Criminal acts committed by federal contractors in foreign countries are subject to prosecution under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (‘MEJA’), 18 U.S.C. § 3261 (a) (l), et al., when their work ‘relates to supporting the mission of the Department of Defense overseas.’ 18 U.S.C. § 3267(1)(A)(ii)(II).

 

“4. FBI investigators have interviewed many of the Iraqi survivors of the September 16 shooting incident, and other eyewitnesses who were present on the scene. The witnesses report that a convoy of four heavily-armored Blackwater vehicles entered the Nisur Square traffic circle located just outside the International Zone in western Baghdad at around noon on September 16, 2007, and positioned their vehicles in a manner to stop the flow of civilian traffic from all directions. FBI investigators have confirmed the identification of this particular Blackwater convoy as ‘Red Detail Tactical Support Team No. 23,’ or ‘Raven 23.’ The four armored vehicles were occupied by a total of 19 Blackwater independent contractors.

 

“5. The eyewitnesses state that, while parked at the circle, one or more of the turret gunners in the Blackwater vehicles opened fire into a small white Kia sedan that had approached the intersection from the south, fatally wounding the driver. Heavy machine gunfire continued from the Blackwater convoy, directed at the white Kia sedan and other vehicles in the traffic lanes south of the circle, and eventually toward unarmed civilians attempting to run to safety. The witnesses also observed the convoy fire several grenades into civilian vehicles and over the fence of a nearby middle school. The white Kia sedan burst into flames and the two occupants of the vehicle were killed.

 

“6. As the convoy departed from the intersection, the witnesses observed the Blackwater independent contractors continue to fire at pedestrians to the east ofthe traffic circle, and at a red bus and unarmed civilians to the west of the circle. As the convoy proceeded back to the International Zone on a road to the north of the circle, other eyewitnesses observed members of the convoy open fire again into the rooftops, windshields, and trunks of three other vehicles, wounding at least three other civilians.

 

“7. An FBI review of hospital records, Iraqi police and army reports, and an examination of several vehicles recovered from the scene, has confirmed that at least 14 people were killed in the attack, at least 20 more were injured, and approximately 18 vehicles were damaged by gunfire or grenades in the vicinity of the traffic circle, and on the road proceeding north from the circle. Another 18 individuals were targeted by gunfire from the Blackwater convoy, but not injured. […]

 

“8. One of the Blackwater independent contractors who fired his weapon during the September 16 shooting has been positively identified by witnesses as Jeremy P. Ridgeway.

 

“9. Mr. Ridgeway and his legal counsel have met with the federal prosecutors handling the investigation, and has agreed to voluntarily enter a plea of guilty to two criminal charges in this case. Mr. Ridgeway has agreed to a written factual proffer describing his actions on September 16, and acknowledging that his use of deadly force against the Iraqi civilians was not objectively reasonable. The factual proffer will be filed with the Court in support of Mr. Ridgeway’s guilty plea. A true and accurate copy of the factual proffer is affixed to this affidavit, and incorporated by reference. All of the factual assertions contained in the factual proffer are accurate to my knowledge, and are supported by information that the FBI has received from witness interviews, forensic testing, and other sources. […]”

 

November 18th, 2008 - Factual Proffer in Support of Guilty Plea

 

“[…] 4. The government’s evidence would prove that on September 16, 2007, at least six members of the Raven 23 convoy, including defendant Ridgeway, opened fire with automatic weapons and grenade launchers on unarmed civilians located in and around Nisur Square in central Baghdad, killing at least fourteen people, wounding at least twenty people, and assaulting but not injuring at least eighteen others. None of these victims was an insurgent, and many were shot while inside of civilian vehicles that were attempting to flee from the Raven 23 convoy. One victim was shot in his chest, while standing in the street with his hands up. At least eighteen civilian vehicles were damaged, some substantially, by gunfire from the Raven 23 convoy.

 

“[…] 9. Defendant Ridgeway heard the initial shots coming from the Blackwater truck in front of him, and then observed one of his teammates firing a machine gun into the front driver’s side windshield of the white Kia sedan. Defendant Ridgeway noticed that the white Kia sedan was also occupied by a front passenger, whom defendant Ridgeway could not clearly see, but who appeared to be moving his or her arms. Defendant Ridgeway also saw an individual standing on the street in close proximity to the white Kia sedan. Defendant Ridgeway then fired multiple rounds from his M-4 assault rifle into the front passenger’s side windshield of the white sedan, killing the passenger. At the time he fired those rounds into the white Kia sedan, defendant Ridgeway intended to kill the passenger of that vehicle, who was later identified as Dr. Al-Khazali, the mother of the driver, Mr. Al Rubia'y. The individual standing on the street in close proximity to the white Kia sedan was later identified as an Iraqi traffic police officer, who had responded to the initial shooting at that vehicle.

 

“10. In addition to defendant Ridgeway, several other members of the Raven 23 convoy fired their weapons into the white Kia sedan. At least one member of the convoy also launched an M-203 grenade at the white Kia sedan, which exploded under the passenger compartment of the vehicle, rupturing and igniting the fuel lines and causing the vehicle to erupt in flames. A high volume of rounds were fired into the front grille, hood, and windshield of the white Kia sedan.

 

“11. Given that the first shots were fired at the white Kia sedan seconds after the Raven 23 convoy had arrived in the traffic circle, defendant Ridgeway recognized that there had been no attempt to provide reasonable warnings to the driver of that vehicle to come to a complete stop prior to the use of deadly force by members of the Raven 23 convoy. As provided in the Missions Firearms Policy, reasonable wamings would have included the (1) use of hand and verbal wamings, (2) firing of pen flares. (3) pointing of weapons at the vehicle, and/or (4) firing of rounds into the engine block. […]”

 

November 14th, 2008 - Information

 

“[…] The United States Attorney charges that: At all times relevant to this Information:

 

“1. Defendant Jeremy P. Ridgeway was employed by the Armed Forces outside the United States. that is, he was employed as independent contractor and employee of Blackwater Worldwide, a contractor of the Department of State, to provide personal security services, which employment related to supporting the mission of the Department of Defense in the Republic of Iraq, within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 3267 (I)(A)(iii).

 

“2. All the events alleged in this Information took place within the military extraterritorial jurisdiction of the United States, as provided by U.S.C. § 3261(a), but outside of the jurisdiction of any parliicular State or district and within the venue of the United States District for the District of Columbia as provided by 18 U.S.C. § 3238.

 

“3. On or about September 16, 2007, defendant Jeremy P. Ridgeway, unlawfully and intentionally, upon a sudden quarrel and heat of passion, did commit voluntary manslaughter, as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 1112, by killing Mahassin Mohssen Kadhum Al-Khazali. […]”

 

“4. On or about September 16, 2007, defendant Jeremy P. Ridgeway, unlawfully and intentionally, upon a sudden quarrel and heat of passion, did attempt to commit manslaughter by attempting to kill Abdul Wahab Abdul Qadar Al-Qalamchi. […]”

 

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