Another Haditha Marine's Charges Are Questioned

Another “cold-blooded” Haditha marine was in court this month.
The lawyer for 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson believes the charges against his client will be dropped.

According to Defend Out Marines, Eight Marines were originally charged. Charges have been dismissed against four Marines. Two have been ordered to a court martial. Two cases are pending.

The North County Times has the latest on the case against Haditha marine 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson:

CAMP PENDLETON – A military hearing officer said Saturday he has serious doubts over the validity of criminal charges filed against a Marine lieutenant in the aftermath of the slaying of 24 Iraqi civilians two years ago.

The hearing officer, Col. Robert Stahlman, said that if 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson was guilty of dereliction of duty for not ordering an investigation into the slayings, numerous other members of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment command staff should have been similarly charged.

“I would have expected everyone in that battalion would have been charged and obviously that didn’t happen,” Stahlman said.

The colonel’s comments came at the close of a hearing at Camp Pendleton over the last week to help determine if Grayson, a 26-year-old intelligence specialist, should be ordered to face trial by military court-martial.

Stahlman presided over Grayson’s Article 32 hearing, which concluded after four days of testimony and an unusual Saturday session. Article 32 hearings are akin to probable cause hearings in civilian courts.

The colonel also said he was anxious to see the prosecution’s written arguments on the charge that Grayson lied to investigators.

“I think it is a stretch to charge that,” Stahlman said.

He did not specifically address a third charge of obstruction of justice prosecutors filed against Grayson last December. That allegation contends Grayson’s order to destroy photos of the slain Iraqis amounted to obstruction.

Grayson was the last of four 3rd Battalion officers who were charged with dereliction of duty at Haditha to have his case aired. Charges against two of the officers were later withdrawn. The battalion commander at Haditha, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, faces trial in April.

Grayson is the most junior of the officers accused of wrongdoing, and after Saturday’s hearing and Stahlman’s comments, his attorney Joseph Casas said he believes his client will be exonerated.

Hat Tip Marinka

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