Jury in Abu Ghraib trial says it is deadlocked; judge orders deliberations to continue

Apr 26, 2024, 11:05 AM

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A judge ordered jurors Friday to keep deliberating after they said they were deadlocked in a lawsuit alleging a Virginia-based military contractor is liable for abuses suffered by inmates at the Abu Ghraib prion in Iraq two decades ago.

The eight-person civil jury has deliberated the equivalent of three full days in the civil suit in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

The trial, which began April 15, is the first time a U.S. jury has heard claims of mistreatment brought by survivors of Abu Ghraib.

Three former detainees sued Reston, Virginia-based contractor CACI. They allege the company is liable for the mistreatment they suffered when they were imprisoned at Abu Ghraib in 2003 and 2004 after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

CACI supplied civilian contractors to work at Abu Ghraib as interrogators, in support of shorthanded U.S. Army soldiers. Abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib became a worldwide scandal 20 years ago when photos became public showing U.S. soldiers smiling and laughing as they inflicted physical and sexual abuse on detainees in shockingly graphic ways.

The plaintiffs have argued at trial that CACI interrogators contributed to their mistreatment, even if they didn’t commit the abuses themselves, by conspiring with soldiers to mistreat inmates as a way to “soften them up” for questioning.

On Friday, the jury sent out a note saying that they have extensively discussed the evidence but “we are still not unanimous on anything.”

As is typical when a jury sends out such a note, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema told the jurors they must continue their deliberations. She sent them home early Friday afternoon to resume deliberating Monday morning.

During deliberations this week, the jury asked multiple questions about how to apply a legal principle known as the “borrowed servants” doctrine.

CACI, as one of its defenses, has argued it shouldn’t be liable for any misdeeds by its employees if they were under the control and direction of the Army.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers tried to bar CACI from making that argument at trial, but Brinkema allowed the jury to consider it.

Both sides have argued about scope of the doctrine. Fundamentally, though, if CACI has proven that its interrogators were under the command and control of the Army at the time any misconduct occurred, then the jury has been instructed to find in favor of CACI.

The issue of who controlled CACI interrogators occupied a significant portion of the trial. CACI officials testified that they basically turned over supervision of the interrogators to the Army.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs argued otherwise, and introduced evidence including CACI’s contract with the Army, which required CACI to supervise its own employees. Jurors also saw a section of the Army Field Manual that pertains to contractors and states that “only contractors may supervise and give direction to their employees.

The trial and the jury’s deliberations come after legal wrangling and questions over whther CACI could be sued resulted in more than 15 years of legal wrangling.

United States News

Associated Press

The Latest | Trump’s criminal trial set to enter final stretch as cross-examination of Cohen resumes

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s hush money trial is entering its final stretch as the prosecution’s star witness Michael Cohen returns to the stand on Monday. Cohen took the stand last week to lay out his version of the events that are at the heart of the case. Cohen placed Trump directly at the […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: Wall Street modestly higher before the bell with Dow still treading above 40,000

Wall Street pointed toward modest gains early Monday, keeping markets around record levels after the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 40,000 for the first time ever last week. Markets did appear to be shaken by news of the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and other officials who died in a helicopter crash in […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Michael Cohen faces more grilling as Trump’s hush money trial enters its final stretch

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s hush money trial is heading into the final stretch, with prosecutors’ last and star witness back on the stand Monday for more grilling before the former president’s lawyers get their chance to put on a case. The landmark trial will kick back off in Manhattan with more defense cross-examination […]

11 hours ago

President Joe Biden gestures after speaking to graduating students at the Morehouse College commenc...

Associated Press

Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too

Joe Biden on Sunday offered his most direct recognition of U.S. students' anguish over the Israel-Hamas war.

16 hours ago

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi suffered a “hard landing” on Sunday, May ...

Associated Press

Helicopter carrying Iran’s hard-line president apparently crashes in foggy, mountainous region

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the country's foreign minister apparently crashed in mountainous Iran on Sunday.

20 hours ago

Associated Press

Child is among 3 dead after Amtrak train hits a pickup truck in upstate New York

NEW YORK (AP) — A child was among the three victims killed when a passenger train hit a pickup truck, officials said. The northbound Amtrak train hit a Dodge truck Friday evening in North Tonawanda, New York, a small town along the Niagara River between Niagara Falls and Buffalo, police said. The victims included a […]

21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Jury in Abu Ghraib trial says it is deadlocked; judge orders deliberations to continue