Blackwater Subject of Justice Department Probe

August 17, 2008

Half a dozen Blackwater Worldwide security guards have gotten target letters from the Justice Department in a probe of shootings in Baghdad that killed 17 Iraqis, The Washington Post reported.

The Blackwater guards are caught up in the investigation of shootings that took place last September when a Blackwater team arrived in several vehicles at an intersection in Baghdad where shooting erupted, leaving numerous Iraqis dead and wounded.

The Post described the six guards as former U.S. military personnel, but did not identify them by name.

Attributing its information to three sources close to the case, the Post said that any charges would be brought against the guards under a federal law used to prosecute cases referred to the Justice Department by the Pentagon for crimes committed by military personnel and contractors overseas.

Target letters often are a prelude to indictment.

The Post story appeared on the newspaper’s Website Saturday night.

The shootings began when a Blackwater convoy, which was responding to a Baghdad car bombing, entered the Nisoor Square traffic circle.

Blackwater says the convoy was ambushed by insurgents, touching off a firefight. Iraqi witnesses, however, described an unprovoked attack in which security guards fired indiscriminately, killing motorists, bystanders and children in the square.

Article by Associated Press

iNPLACENEWS

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.

Advertisements

Olsen Twin Wants Immunity in DEA Probe of Heath Ledger’s Death

August 4, 2008


Federal investigators want to question Mary-Kate Olsen about how Heath Ledger got two powerful painkillers that contributed to his accidental overdose death, but she’s refusing to talk without immunity, a law enforcement official said Monday.

Olsen’s lawyer has twice refused requests for her to speak with investigators, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing. The lawyer, Michael C. Miller, said the “Full House” actress has nothing to do with the drugs, and has already told the government everything she knows.

“We have provided the government with relevant information including facts in the chronology of events surrounding Mr. Ledger’s death,” Miller said in a statement Monday, “and the fact that Ms. Olsen does not know the source of the drugs Mr. Ledger consumed.”

The official confirmed a report that Olsen wants a promise of immunity from prosecution before speaking to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Olsen was a close friend of Ledger’s, and was the first person called by a masseuse who found the 28-year-old “Dark Knight” actor’s lifeless body in his Manhattan apartment.

Authorities have obtained a subpoena that could force Olsen to appear before a grand jury if negotiations with her lawyer fail, the official said. Other potential witnesses all have answered questions voluntarily, including doctors, Ledger’s ex-girlfriend Michelle Williams and anyone who was in his apartment around the time of his death, the official added.

DEA investigators suspect the painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone found in Ledger’s system were obtained with phony prescriptions or other illegal means, the official said. Oxycodone is sold as OxyContin; and hydrocodone as Vicodin.

The other drugs, including anti-anxiety medication and sleeping pills, were prescribed legally by doctors in California and Texas, the official said.

The medical examiner’s office wouldn’t say what concentrations of each drug was found, but made clear he was killed by the combination — not an excess of any one drug in particular. It’s common for the DEA to investigate an overdose death with so many different drugs involved, spokesman Garrison Courtney said last month.

The DEA’s New York office declined comment on the stalemate with Olsen, which was first reported Monday by the New York Post. There was no immediate response to a message left with a spokeswoman for Olsen.

The masseuse discovered Ledger’s body on Jan. 22. Police say she spent nine minutes making three calls to Olsen before dialing 911 for help, then called the actress a fourth time after paramedics arrived. At some point during the flurry of frantic calls, Olsen, who was in California, summoned her personal security guards to the apartment to help, police said.

Shortly after the Australian-born actor’s death, Olsen issued a statement that read: “Heath was a friend. His death is a tragic loss.”

Article by Tom Hays
Andre Jetmir iNPLACENEWS

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.