Defense attorneys for five former servicemen accused of indiscriminately firing on a group of citizens in Iraq while working for Blackwater Worldwide, a private security company hired by the US government, have formally requested a military escort while investigating the even in Iraq. The five men are standing trial in a civilian court under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act. Earlier this year, Blackwater changed its name to Xe.
Defense attorneys claim that non military protection is insufficient given the nature of the acts their clients have been accused of committing, and that refusing to supply appropriate protection will infringe up the right of their clients to a fair trial. The prosecution has urged the judge to deny the request. According to the prosecution, the judicial branch is prohibited by separation of powers from telling the President how to utilize the military. Some analysts have suggested that by refusing to grant a military escort, the government runs the risk of seeing its case dismissed if the judge believes the defendants are effectively denied access to necessary witnesses or evidence.