US contractor sentenced in Iraq shooting seeks new trial

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former State Department contractor sentenced to life in prison for his role in the 2007 shooting deaths of Iraqi civilians is asking for a new trial because of what he says is newly discovered evidence.

Lawyers for former Blackwater employee Nicholas Slatten said they received a State Department report two days before the Aug. 14 sentencing that they say cast doubt on prosecutors’ argument that Slatten is prone to unprovoked violence.

The document concerns a rescue mission of a downed aircraft that took place once week before the shooting in the case.

Slatten’s lawyers say the document shows Army forces reported incoming fire from Iraqi insurgents before Slatten and other Blackwater contractors arrived at the site.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington declined to comment Wednesday.