NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Five Somali men accused of firing assault rifles at a Navy ship off the coast of Africa are set to face the first U.S. piracy trial in more than 100 years.
The suspected pirates are accused of shooting at the USS Nicholas in an attempt to plunder what they thought was a merchant ship. Instead, prosecutors say the men fired on a 453-foot ship patrolling the pirate-infested waters. The USS Nicholas shot back, forcing the men to flee.
The men, along with other suspected pirates, were eventually captured and brought back to the U.S. The federal trial will begin Tuesday and is expected to last about a month.
Defense attorneys say there was no evidence the men attempted to take control of the Navy frigate with a crew of 100 sailors.
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