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12/6/2019 7:27:02 PM
Posted: 6/4/2008 7:06:17 PM EST

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) - A military jury acquitted a Marine intelligence officer Wednesday of charges that he tried to help cover up the killings of 24 Iraqis.

Cheers erupted as the seven-officer panel cleared 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson, who was the first of three Marines to be tried in the biggest U.S. criminal case involving Iraqi deaths linked to the war. The verdict came just five hours after deliberations began.

The judge, Maj. Brian E. Kasprzyk, admonished the noisy courtroom, saying: "There will be no more of that."

Grayson, who has always maintained he did nothing wrong, was not at the scene of the killings of men, women and children on Nov. 19, 2005, in Haditha. He was accused of telling a sergeant to delete photographs of the dead from a digital camera and laptop computer.

Outside the courtroom, a visibly emotional Grayson fought back tears as he said the verdict was an end to a terrible ordeal.

"It's finally time for me to get to be with my family," he said.

His wife, Susan, cried as she said what she had only dared to think about for months: "It's over."

Grayson, of Springboro, Ohio, was found not guilty of two counts of making false official statements, two counts of trying to fraudulently separate from service, and one count of attempt to deceive by making false statements. He would have faced as many as 20 years in prison if convicted of all counts.

Grayson's attorney, Joseph Casas, said he believed the verdict could influence pending prosecutions.

"I think it sets the tone for the overall whirlwind Haditha has been. It's been a botched investigation from the get-go," he said. "I believe in the end all of the so-called Haditha Marines who still have to face trial will be exonerated."

During closing arguments earlier in the day, Casas and a prosecutor offered starkly contrasting views of Grayson.

The prosecutor, Lt. Col. Paul H. Atterbury, painted Grayson as a liar who wanted to avoid accountability and ordered the sergeant to delete photographs of the bodies.

Atterbury told jurors evidence showed Grayson lied five times to investigators and hindered their efforts to look into the killings.

"Gentlemen, why would an otherwise promising officer make a statement like that? The government's argument is that it was to avoid accountability," Atterbury said.

But Casas told jurors the prosecution of Grayson was the result of a flubbed investigation conducted under heavy media scrutiny. The case, he said, was falling apart, pointing to a move a day earlier by a judge who dismissed an obstruction-of-justice charge against Grayson.

"One of the greatest charges we started out with is no longer there," Casas said. "It's like the government ran a 90-yard punt return and got called back to line 10."

The killings occurred after a roadside bomb killed a Marine and wounded two others.

Investigators allege that after the bombing, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich and a squad member shot five men by a car at the scene. Wuterich then allegedly ordered his men into several houses, where they cleared rooms with grenades and gunfire, killing more Iraqis, including women and children, in the process.

Four enlisted Marines initially were charged with murder and four officers were charged with failing to investigate the deaths. Charges were dropped against five of the Marines.

Still to face court-martial are Wuterich, of Meriden, Conn., whose charges include voluntary manslaughter, and Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, of Rangely, Colo., who has been charged with dereliction of duty and violation of a lawful order on allegations he mishandled the aftermath of the killings.

Grayson and Wuterich pleaded not guilty. Chessani has said he didn't order a formal investigation because he believed the deaths resulted from lawful combat. He has not entered a plea because in the military system that is not usually done until motions hearings are completed and a court-martial is about to start.

Link Posted: 6/4/2008 7:07:08 PM EST
Where, Oh where is Murtha Tonight
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 7:09:09 PM EST
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 7:11:30 PM EST

Originally Posted By Chokey:
Where, Oh where is Murtha Tonight

You wont here a word from that POS...
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 7:13:26 PM EST

Originally Posted By Chokey:
Where, Oh where is Murtha Tonight

Choking down metimucil and creamed spinach.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 8:47:48 PM EST
Thank God.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 8:56:08 PM EST
In before the usual apologists who tell us that the Marines don't understand counterinsurgency, that the armchair Arfcom'ers don't get the big picture and that bad apples like this Marine are part of the problem and not part of the solution.

Also in before those same people refuse to admit that the Marine in question have been vindicated, and therefore the Federal government has failed to prove a damn thing.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 8:58:32 PM EST

Originally Posted By Chokey:
Where, Oh where is Murtha Tonight

He's got an elevator to catch

Link Posted: 6/5/2008 4:32:39 AM EST
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 4:35:15 AM EST
Excellent news!!

Oh, and by the way....

Link Posted: 6/5/2008 4:36:11 AM EST

Originally Posted By badfish274:

Link Posted: 6/5/2008 4:38:58 AM EST
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 5:53:30 AM EST
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 5:56:41 AM EST
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 6:01:00 AM EST
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 6:36:26 AM EST
Luckily, military jury panels now are almost all combat vets. They are able to see through the bullshit political prosecutions. In the end, they normally do the right thing and acquit. If there has to be a conviction, then they can find ways to hand out no-jail-time sentences (i.e. Rogelio Maynulet).
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 6:41:03 AM EST
Bohr Adam will not be pleased though.

This is really starting to make me doubt ALL of the outstanding inditments of US servicemen in Iraq.

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