…..the persecution of Lt. Col. Chessani may continue. Government has 30 days to appeal decision.
Late yesterday morning, the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals sitting in Washington DC, released their unanimous decision upholding the dismissal of charges against Marine Lt. Col Jeffrey Chessani on the grounds of Unlawful Command Influence. But rumors abound in military circles that the government is not done with the prosecution of this loyal Marine, considered by his superiors as one of the most effective combat officers in Iraq.
The Government has 30 days from the court’s decision (March 17, 2009) to decide if they will ask the court to reconsider their opinion, ask for an en banc decision from the entire Navy and Marine Corps Court of Appeals, or seek a petition for appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) – the next higher court. The Government could also decide to appoint a new convening authority to make an independent decision on whether to re-charge LtCol Chessani – essentially starting over.
For the last four years, LtCol Chessani has been investigated and prosecuted for his involvement in the so called “Haditha Massacre” – a massacre that never happened.
During this entire court process, the Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has been representing LtCol Chessani without charge. The estimated attorney fees thus far would have amounted to a million dollars. However, the Law Center is receiving donations from patriotic Americans all across America to support the cost of their defense of LtCol Chessani.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, observed, “The government took its best shot and lost. They have wasted millions of taxpayers’ dollars. It’s time for the Pentagon to say ‘enough is enough.’ I now call upon our military and civilian leaders to drop this persecution of LtCol Chessani and his family.”
LtCol Chessani is the highest ranking officer facing criminal charges as a result of the much-publicized and ill-described “Haditha massacre.” The criminal charges against him stem from a legitimate combat action taken by four enlisted Marines in his command after they were ambushed by insurgents in Haditha, Iraq, on November 19, 2005.
Count on the Obama administration to want to drag this American war hero through the mud again.
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