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June 11 (Bloomberg) -- A federal appeals court threw out the nine-year prison sentence of Noureddine Malki, a former Arabic translator for L-3 Communications Holdings Inc.’s Titan unit who pleaded guilty after being accused of illegally gaining access to documents about military plans in Iraq.

The appeals court said in a ruling today that the sentencing was handled incorrectly and told a lower-court judge to do it again. It’s the second time the appeals court has rejected Malki’s sentence.

“We conclude the district court procedurally erred when sentencing Malki,” the appeals court said in its order.

Malki was initially sentenced to more than 10 years in prison in May 2008. That penalty was reversed on appeal after an error was discovered in the calculation of a guideline sentencing range.

At Malki’s second sentencing, in August 2012, a different judge failed to correct the mistake and instead made similar errors, according to the appeals court. Malki has been in U.S. custody since November 2007, according to the appeals court.

Prosecutors alleged Malki used a fake identity in 2003 to gain a position as a translator for Titan, a contractor to the U.S. Army, and obtain security clearances. While on assignment in Iraq, Malki obtained documents describing U.S. plans for combating insurgents and a photograph identifying troop routes.

The original case is U.S. v. Malki, 05-cr-00845, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn). The appeal is U.S. v. Malki, 12-3167, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (New York)

To contact the reporter on this story: Christie Smythe in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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