NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal appeals court has blasted the government for its handling of a sex trafficking case involving Somali gang members, saying one of the investigators was repeatedly caught lying and the so-called victims in the case had serious issues with credibility.

The 6th U.S. Court of Appeals said U.S. District Judge William Haynes had good reason to throw out 2012 sex-trafficking conspiracy convictions by a jury.

Three men were part of a case involving 30 people who were all accused of being part of a multistate child sex trafficking operation that took place in in Minnesota, Ohio and Tennessee. The federal appeals court said the claims of sex trafficking are likely "fictitious."

The lead prosecutor on the case declined to comment, saying he had not yet read the opinion.

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