Following the conviction of a few low-ranking soldiers for their roles in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, Lt. Col. Steven Jordan was found guilty Tuesday by a 10-member jury of only a single charge — failing to obey an order. The case is supposed to be the last of the criminal proceedings concerning this dark chapter of the Iraq war, but sources close to the Abu Ghraib legal drama tell TIME that two key civilians who worked as private contractors in the notorious facility’s cell blocks could still face prosecution.
The only U.S. military officer facing a court-martial in the controversy, Jordan was charged with ordering dogs to be used for interrogations; cruelty and maltreatment of prisoners who were allegedly subjected to forced nudity and intimidation by dogs; dereliction of a duty to properly train and supervise soldiers in interrogation rules; and disobeying an order not to discuss the case with other witnesses. He could face five years in prison on his single conviction, but most observers believe his sentence will be lighter. The verdict represents a victory for the defense, which, amid prosecution missteps, managed to get dismissed before trial a series of charges that Jordan had lied to Army investigators.
But there may yet be more Abu Ghraib cases ahead. One person told TIME that during a recent appearance before a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia he answered questions about the role at Abu Ghraib of Steven A. Stefanowicz, a former employee of the U.S. defense contractor, CACI, that supplied interrogators to the prison, as well as of another civilian contractor. A variety of new materials obtained by TIME also offers evidence of Stefanowicz’s role at the prison, in addition to whatever testimony the grand jury in eastern Virginia has heard.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia, to which the military referred allegations of civilian wrongdoing at Abu Ghraib, would not comment on the grand jury matter, or whether Stefanowicz might be a target. A similar grand jury was convened in the eastern district some two years ago, but apparently returned no indictments.
A lawyer for Stefanowicz told TIME that he had received no recent communication from federal authorities and had “no basis that they are taking up this matter” more than three years after the scandal erupted. CACI itself said in 2004 that its own internal investigation had produced no evidence that any of its employees had been involved in abuse at the prison.
Contacted by TIME regarding new investigations into their former employee Stefanowicz, a spokesperson said: “CACI does not condone or tolerate illegal acts or behavior on the part of its employees. It is the company’s clear and unambiguous policy that all its activities shall comply with all applicable laws at all times.”