22 March 2010

Haditha Defendants All Going Free?

In what would be a Duke-Lacrosse Case-caliber win for justice over rhetoric, it looks like the last of the Haditah defendants may be heading for freedom.

Eight Marines were charged in the biggest criminal case against U.S. troops to arise from the Iraq war. Six have had charges dismissed, and one was acquitted.

Whether the only remaining and perhaps highest-profile defendant stands trial may hinge on what happens this week in a military courtroom.

Lawyers for Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich will ask a judge to dismiss charges against the former squad leader in a case involving the deaths of 24 Iraqi men, women and children in Haditha in November 2005, arguing that a general who oversaw the case was improperly influenced by an aide.

Wuterich, 30, is charged with voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, dereliction of duty and obstruction of justice. He is currently assigned to administrative work at 1st Marine Division headquarters at Camp Pendleton.

Gen. James Mattis is expected to testify at the pretrial hearing Monday about his role in the case, which included bringing charges against Wuterich when he was commander of the Marine Corps Forces Central Command and 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton.

Now that the facts have come out and basically exonerated the Marines, one wonders if Murtha's estate will issue an apology for the public statements presuming their guilt before the investigation had ever started.

By: Brant

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