Skip to comments.Lawyers for Marines, medic plan counterattack in Iraq murder case - Hamdaniya - 'Pendleton 8'
Posted on 06/27/2006 3:47:03 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
Lawyers for some of the seven Marines and a Navy medic charged with murdering an Iraqi man are questioning the credibility of their Iraqi accusers, suggesting they may have been motivated by money or sympathy for the insurgents.
The defense attorneys said they will also try to get the troops' incriminating statements thrown out.
The lawyers are starting to put together their strategy now that they have been given copies of the Pentagon's investigation into the April 26 killing of Hashim Ibrahim Awad in Hamdania. Authorities say Awad was kidnapped from his home and shot during a search for insurgents.
The Pentagon began investigating Awad's death after his relatives and other Iraqis reported the killing. The Pentagon paid the family an undisclosed amount as compensation for the death, a fairly common practice when noncombatants are killed.
Defense attorneys Jeremiah Sullivan III and David Brahms said money could have been a motivation. They also said it is possible the relatives are sympathetic to the insurgents.
"What better way to undercut the American presence and to embarrass the Americans than to say this horrible act occurred and that these Marines without hesitation and in cold blood mowed down this disabled guy?" said Brahms, who represents Marine Lance Cpl. Robert Pennington. The lawyer said he wants to know whether U.S. authorities have any intelligence files on the tipsters.
Sullivan, who represents Navy Corpsman 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos, said: "Money is a motivating factor for the families. Word gets out quick when you hear you can get money from the government."
Jane Siegel, a former Marine Corps colonel, prosecutor and judge defending Pfc. John Jodka III, questioned why it took at least four days for the relatives to report the death to the Marines.
"If you had your brother's body turned over and it was all shot up, wouldn't you at least start with the people who are handing it over to you and say, 'What happened here?'" Siegel said.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which conducted the investigation, did not return calls or e-mails seeking comment.
NCIS investigators claim that, without provocation, the troops seized Awad, tied him up, put him in a hole and shot him. The troops are accused of placing an AK-47 in his hands and putting a shovel in the hole to make it appear Awad was planting explosives. All could get the death penalty if convicted.
The troops all signed incriminating statements, Siegel said. She and Brahms said they will seek to have them thrown out on the grounds the information was coerced.
"When you put two NCIS agents in a room with a little 19-year-old kid and threaten him with the death penalty and call him a (expletive) liar for 2 1/2 hours and only give him water after he has signed the statement that's been typed by an NCIS agent, I think that's coercive," Siegel said. "I don't think you arrive at the truth that way; I think you arrive at whatever it is NCIS wants to arrive at."
Gary D. Solis, a former Marine Corps prosecutor and judge who teaches the laws of war at Georgetown University, said the chances of getting all eight statements thrown out "are so remote it's hard for me to conceive of it."
In a case with eight defendants and at least 17 defense lawyers, Solis said it is more likely one of the troops will cooperate with prosecutors in return for the charges being dropped or the penalty reduced.
Through their lawyers and families, all the troops have denied any wrongdoing. Brahms, Siegel and other lawyers have pointed to their clients' clean records and distinguished military service and say that will also be part of their defense.
"This charge is totally at odds with everything we know about" Pennington, Brahms said.
The next legal step is an Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury, where the prosecution will outline its case. That hearing was slated for Wednesday but was tentatively rescheduled for the end of July at the request of defense attorneys, who asked for more time to plow through the government's evidence.
Among that evidence is a preliminary autopsy conducted by military pathologists at Dover Air Force Base, Del. It confirmed Awad died of multiple gunshot wounds. Victor Kelley, who represents Marine Cpl. Trent Thomas, said he would file a request that the defense be allowed to hire its own experts to examine the body.
Thanks for posting this, Norm. Mystery - I thought you'd want to read an update.
I wonder if the military knows this is bogus but arrests and investigates to show Iraq and the world that we take their concerns seriously, with an added bonus of letting the media look foolish. I hope this isn't the case. I could understand but it's brutal for the troops.
A culture that has no concept of the holiness of human life could very well cap uncle, 86 yr. old, decrepid Hashim and claim the Americans did it .. get the money and disappear.
I believe the deceased was 53 or thereabouts.
Is there a pinglist for the Pendleton 8? If so, I'd like to be added.
I don't think anyone has a ping list, MizSterious, but if I see articles about this matter, I'll try and remember to ping you.
If they can't get the statements thrown out, can they show the methods used to get the statements? BTW, the NCIS has always had a reputation of being bullies.
Thanks, Peach. Too many of these charges, and too many times they tend to be bogus.
Thanks Peach...these boys need to stick together....unF'ing believable that they are taking the word of Iraqis over our guys....
Unless, they are all telling the truth in which case there's no deal to be made. And the NCIS can go phock themselves.
"I wonder if the military knows this is bogus but arrests and investigates to show Iraq and the world that we take their concerns seriously, with an added bonus of letting the media look foolish. I hope this isn't the case. I could understand but it's brutal for the troops."
It's brutal for the Marine Corps also...two squads of highly motivated, combat experienced Marines effectively wiped out. These guys even if innocent have had their careers destroyed and will not reenlist. A major coup for the insurgents and the left.
Thanks for the ping
Can anyone on this thread find a warm and fuzzy spot for the much maligned legal profession. These guys defending our hereoes are lawyers - not a popular species until you need one.
Thanks for the post, Norm.
ya know if any of these clowns in the media had spent one day in the armed services, they would know the Sailor in this case is a Navy Corpsman!
I'm still predicting exoneration.
Hopefully for the sake of these Marines & Corpsman's families and the families of those Marines & Corpsmen's families who paid the ultimate price; the media will be as diligent in reporting their innocence! But you and I both know it won't be coming.
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