Entries in Court Martial (8)


Fort Hood Shooter Not Allowed to Plead Guilty

Photo by U.S. Government Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences via Getty Image(FORT HOOD, Texas) -- Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage, will not be allowed to plead guilty, a judge ruled on Wednesday.

Maj. Hasan's attorneys had previously indicated that he would plead guilty to 13 counts of premeditated murder in the case of the deadliest shooting on a U.S. military base. However, the Uniformed Code of Military Justice does not allow the court to accept a guilty plea on capital charges.

Col. Tara Osborn, the presiding judge, also denied the requests made by Hasan's lawyers to move the court martial away from Fort Hood.

Osborn also heard arguments pertaining to an expert witness in the case and said that a decision as to what extent he may testify will be made at a later date.

Hasan had been encouraged to commit an act of jihad by al Qeada-linked radical mosque leader from Virginia, Anwar al Awlaki, who was later killed in a drone strike. Co-workers of Hasan reported to their superiors his increasing Islamic extremism, but no action was taken against him before his rampage.

The next hearing in the case is set for April 16.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Army General Charged with Forcible Sodomy During Tour in Afghanistan

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(FORT BRAGG, N.C.) -- An Army brigadier general has been charged with forcible sodomy, inappropriate relationships, and possessing alcohol and pornography while serving as a senior commander in Afghanistan earlier this year.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, a deputy commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, faces a possible court martial over the charges handed down Wednesday.

In May, Sinclair was sent home to the United States in the middle of his combat tour in Afghanistan, where he was serving in the southern Afghanistan province of Kandahar as the deputy commander of logistics and support for the 82nd Airborne.

Sinclair was sent to the division’s home base of Fort Bragg, N.C., so allegations of potential misconduct could be investigated.  At the time of his return, base spokesmen confirmed that Sinclair was under criminal investigation.

A news release by the Fort Bragg Public Affairs Office listed the charges presented against Sinclair as including, “forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct, attempted violation of an order, violations of regulations by wrongfully engaging in inappropriate relationships and misusing a government travel charge card, violating general orders by possessing alcohol and pornography while deployed, maltreatment of subordinates, filing fraudulent claims, engaging in conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman and engaging in conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline, or of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.”

Few specifics about the allegations against Sinclair were released Wednesday, but a Defense Department official said, “several women were the subject of Sinclair’s alleged misconduct.”

A former U.S. official who worked with Sinclair during his deployment in Kandahar said he and other officials who knew Sinclair were shocked by the news of the charges.  He described Sinclair as being “very proactive” and a “gregarious individual.”

Sinclair remains at Fort Bragg, where he has been serving in a placeholder position as a special assistant to the commanding general of the 18th Airborne Corps.  A Defense Department official said Sinclair was read the charges against him on Monday.  Another official added that Sinclair is not under detention at the base.

Sinclair will now face an Article 32 hearing, at which evidence will be presented to a presiding officer to determine if his case should proceed to a court martial.  No date has been set for that hearing.

This past decade, Sinclair has served two tours in Iraq and was on his second deployment to Afghanistan.  He had also deployed as part of Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Army spokesman George Wright says that in the past decade there have been only two Army general officers who have undergone court martials.

In June, Brig. Gen. Roger B. Duff, a former commander of the 95th Training Division, pleaded guilty to two charges of false statements, two charges of conduct unbecoming, and seven charges of wearing unauthorized badges, awards or ribbons.  Duff was sentenced to two months confinement and dismissal but, because of a pre-trial agreement, only the dismissal could be imposed.  Duff’s sentence has not been finalized.

Prior to Duff’s case, the only other court martial involving an Army general officer was in 1999, when Maj. Gen. R.E. Hale pled guilty to seven counts of conduct unbecoming an officer and one count of making a false statement about an adulterous relationship. He was reprimanded, fined $10,000, ordered to forfeit $1,000 a month in pay and retired as a brigadier general.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bradley Manning Will Face a Court Martial

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Army has approved a court martial for PFC Bradley Manning the soldier accused of having leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks.

A statement from the Military District of Washington said that Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington has referred all the charges against Manning to a court martial.

Linnington approved the recommendation for a court martial that had been made by the investigating officer who presided over a week-long pre-trial hearing in December.  

The recommendation had to be approved by the two superior officers with convening authority for the case. With the other officer having approved the recommendation in mid-January, Linnington’s approval was the last obstacle for Manning to face a general court martial.

 A trial date will be determined after a military judge is detailed to the case.  According to the statement, “that military judge will set the date for Manning’s arraignment, motion hearings and trial.”  

Serving as an Army intelligence analyst serving in Baghdad in late 2009 to early 2010, Manning had access to classified military and State Department files.

He is accused of having provided Wikileaks with hundreds of thousands of classified military action reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as 260,000 classified State Department cables.

Manning faces 22 charges, including aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy, theft of public property or records and transmitting defense information.

Aiding the enemy is a capital offense that could bring the death penalty, but Army prosecutors have said they will instead pursue life in prison if the 24-year old Manning is convicted.

Manning could also face a reduction in rank to the lowest enlisted pay grade, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio



Bradley Manning Recommended for Court-Martial

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- Private First Class Bradley Manning moved one step closer to a court-martial Thursday.

Lt. Col. Paul Almanza, the investigating officer who last month presided over Manning’s Article 32 hearing, on Thursday recommended to his convening authority that there are “reasonable grounds that the accused committed the offenses alleged,” and that a court-martial is in order.

Manning is charged with releasing more than 700,000 confidential government documents to WikiLeaks, as well as aiding the enemy.

In making his recommendation for court-martial, Almanza weighed testimony presented at the hearing in December, as well as more than 300,000 government pages of documents, chat logs and classified documents.

What still is left to be decided is who will make the final decision as to whether Manning should face a court-martial.

If Manning does go to court-martial trial and is convicted, he would most likely face life in prison. The charge of aiding the enemy does carry with it the death penalty, but prosecutors previously said they will not request it.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Court Martial for Bradley Manning in Wikileaks Case?

Hemera/Thinkstock(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- After a week of testimony, PFC 1st class Bradley Manning's fate for now lies in the hands of a military officer who will determine if he should face a court martial for releasing more than 700,000 confidential government documents to Wikileaks.

The seven-day Article 32 hearing came to a close Thursday after final arguments from both the defense and the prosecution. Although this hearing would not determine the guilt or innocence for Manning, Lt. Col. Paul Almanza's recommendation will be sent to senior military officers who will determine whether the charges against Manning should proceed to a court martial.

A recommendation is expected to be made by Jan. 16, a date based on the right to a speedy trial. It is possible, however, that Almanza could request additional time because of the large amount of evidence.

In making his recommendation, Almanza will weigh the testimony presented this week, as well as more than 300,000 government pages of documents, chat logs and classified documents.

The defense began its brief closing arguments by asking Almanza to dismiss most of the charges against Manning, saying the government has "overcharged in this case."

The most serious charge Manning faces is aiding the enemy; if he's found guilty, it carries the death penalty. But prosecutors have said they will not request it and opt for a recommendation of life in prison.

David Coombs, Manning's lead defense attorney, said the charge has no basis and was overblown.

Coombs accused Secretary Hillary Clinton and other U.S. officials of overstating the harm the release of the documents has had, "claiming the sky is falling." Coombs said, "The sky is not falling, the sky has not fallen, and the sky will not fall."

He even went so far as to ask for Clinton to "come into the courtroom under the pains of perjury," adding he "would enjoy that cross examination."

The prosecution countered this claim during closing arguments with a video of al Qaeda urging "followers in the West to collect and archive Wikileaks" and that the "solution for jihadists is to head to the free Internet."

Capt. Ashden Fine said that Manning "gave enemies unfettered access to those documents," and his "absolute indifference" to classified information "is prejudicial and brings discredit upon the United States armed forces."

Fine cited a PowerPoint presentation Manning gave when he was an intelligence analyst, where he pointed to the Internet as a common source of security leaks. Adding that as a trained all-source intelligence analyst, Manning "wrongfully and wantonly" gave information to Wikileaks knowing the enemy would receive it.

He said that Manning knew that "information on the Internet is helpful to the enemy, and not just declared enemies of the United States." Fine said, "Information is accessible to all other enemies with Internet access."

Coombs asked for the total dismissal of all charges related to unauthorized software, as Manning's unit was a "lawless unit when it comes to information assurance."

He also requested that the charges of publishing classified information on the Internet be reduced in number. If Almanza agrees with Coombs' requests, that would mean the maximum punishment Manning could face would be 30 years.

Until a decision is made, it is most likely that Manning will be transferred back to Ft. Leavenworth, Kans. As an active duty Army soldier, Manning will continue to receive pay and benefits while in pre-trial confinement.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Trial Date Set for Accused Fort Hood Shooter

Ben Sklar/Getty Images(FORT HOOD, Texas) -- The court martial of Maj. Nidal Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist charged with the deadly November 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas, has been set to begin on March 5.

Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder for the shootings that left 13 dead and 32 others wounded.  The 40-year-old, who was wounded and partially paralyzed during the rampage, sat in a wheelchair Wednesday while he was arraigned and calmly told a military judge he understood the charges against him.

A military jury of 12 officers above Hasan’s rank will hear testimony in the case.  In order to obtain a conviction, two-thirds of the panel must agree he is guilty.  

Hasan faces the possibility of a death sentence if convicted of premeditated murder.  The same panel will decide his fate, but in the penalty phase of the trial, a unanimous vote is needed for the death sentence.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


HIV Positive Airman Faces Court-Martial

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio (WICHITA, Kan.) -- Three women took the stand Tuesday in the court-martial case of Air Force Tech Sgt. David Gutierrez and testified that he either denied he was HIV positive or never mentioned it.

And in opening statements, Gutierrez's lawyer claimed that the latest scientific research shows that having unprotected sex with multiple partners without telling them that he's HIV positive does not amount to aggravated assault.

Gutierrez, stationed at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan., has been under arrest at the base since Aug. 9, 2010. He is charged with disobeying a commander's orders by sleeping with numerous women without disclosing his positive HIV status.

He also faces 10 charges of aggravated assault, one for each sexual partner, according to a charge sheet. He also faces charges of adultery and having sex in front of others.

Gutierrez entered a not guilty plea on all charges.

In July of last year, Gutierrez's wife, Gina Gutierrez, told Air Force officials that her husband had bragged "about his numerous sexual exploits in the Wichita area and commented he never informed the other parties of being HIV positive," according to a court affidavit obtained by The Smoking Gun.

Three women took the stand Tuesday claiming to have had sex with David Gutierrez after meeting him at "swinger parties."

All three women who testified have not tested positive for HIV.

David Gutierrez is a 20-year Air Force veteran who contracted HIV while stationed in Italy in 2007, according to the affidavit obtained by The Smoking Gun.

He was reassigned to Wichita in December 2008 where he is stationed with the 22nd Maintenance Operations Squadron. In October 2009, his commander sent an order that the sergeant must verbally inform sexual partners that he was HIV positive and must use protection to prevent the spread of the disease.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


'Birther' Dismissed from Army for Refusing Deployment, Sentenced to Six Months in Prison

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MEADE, Md.) -- Lt. Col. Terry Lakin, a doctor who refused deployment to Afghanistan because he questioned whether President Obama was born in the United States, was dismissed from the Army Thursday and sentenced to six months in military prison for refusing to obey orders.

Lakin, who could've been imprisoned for up to three years, was sentenced by a military jury at the end of his three-day court-martial hearing in Fort Meade, Md.

The 18-year Army veteran is among so-called "birthers," who continue to question whether Obama was born in the United States and thereby eligible for the presidency.

Lakin pleaded guilty for failing to obey orders. Lakin was set to deploy from Fort Campbell, Ky., in April, for his second tour of duty, but he never showed up.

During the trial, the Colorado native acknowledged that he should have followed orders despite his concerns about Obama's citizenship. Arguing for a lenient sentence, Lakin's lawyer called the case unique and argued that Lakin made one bad decision but was also given bad advice by his previous attorney.

Prosecutors came down hard on Lakin, saying that he knew what he was doing and he had "invited and earned" the sentence.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio