Former Blackwater guards heading to federal court

RALEIGH, NC (AP) - Five security guards who worked for Blackwater Worldwide are heading to federal court.

The five men are scheduled to appear in a Washington courtroom Tuesday. They are expected to plead not guilty to charges of manslaughter in a shooting that killed at least 14 Iraqi civilians.

North Carolina-based Blackwater protects State Department diplomats in Iraq. But the September 2007 shooting in Baghdad's Nisoor Square drew outcry from Iraqis, who demanded that Blackwater be banned from the country.

A sixth Blackwater guard has pleaded guilty in the case. But radio logs indicate that the guards repeatedly reported incoming gunfire from insurgents and Iraqi police, casting doubt on prosecutors' claims that the shootings were unprovoked.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.