Blackwater defendants surrendered in Utah in hopes of having the trial held in Utah. The defendants are separately represented by a number of various attorneys including former Utah U.S. District Court Judge Paul Cassell, D.C. attorney David Schertler, Maryland attorney Steven McCool, and others. The defendants have been indicted in a case that has already been assigned to Washington, D.C., U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina.
There are a number of questions raised by the tactic of the defendants surrendering in Utah, including where is the proper venue for crimes committed outside of the United States and does the U.S. contract with Blackwater Worldwide provide the basis for jurisdiction and venue. Certainly the venue question is relevant to one of the ultimate issues that the defendants will raise which is whether the Blackwater defendants can even be charged in U.S. courts for crimes allegedly committed overseas. Indeed, the Blackwater defendants will want to hit the venue issue hard now for the very reason that venue has certain inevitable overlaps the question of jurisdiction. In any event we will have a front row seat as this matter, at least preliminarily, plays out in federal court. Stay tuned.