Marine may call Murtha as Witness

Discussion in 'Politics' started by carpro, Jun 15, 2006.

  1. carpro

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    Oct 14, 2004
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    Marine may call Murtha as witness

    By Rowan Scarborough

    June 15, 2006

    A criminal defense attorney for a Marine under investigation in the Haditha killings says he will call a senior Democratic congressman as a trial witness, if his client is charged, to find out who told the lawmaker that U.S. troops are guilty of cold-blooded murder.

    Attorney Neal A. Puckett told The Washington Times that Gen. Michael Hagee, the Marine commandant, briefed Rep. John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat, on the Nov. 19 killings of 24 Iraqis in the town north of Baghdad. Mr. Murtha later told reporters that the Marines were guilty of killing the civilians in "cold blood." Mr. Murtha said he based his statement on Marine commanders, whom he did not identify.

    Mr. Puckett said such public comments from a congressman via senior Marines amount to "unlawful command influence." He said potential Marine jurors could be biased by the knowledge that their commandant, the Corps' top officer, thinks the Haditha Marines are guilty.

    "Congressman Murtha will be one of the first witnesses I call to the witness stand," Mr. Puckett said yesterday.

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