Marine Officer To Testify On Iraq Killings In Exchange For Immunity

Marine Officer To Testify On Iraq Killings In Exchange For Immunity
April 21st, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Marine Officer To Testify On Iraq Killings In Exchange For Immunity

Marine Officer To Testify On Iraq Killings In Exchange For Immunity
New York Times
April 21, 2007
Pg. 6
By Paul Von Zielbauer
The officer in immediate command of three marines accused of killing civilians in a house-to-house attack in Haditha, Iraq, in 2005 has been granted immunity to testify at his subordinates’ military hearings, lawyers involved in the case said.
In exchange, the officer, First Lt. William T. Kallop, agreed to answer all questions that prosecution or defense lawyers ask him, the lawyers said. The immunity granted to Lieutenant Kallop, who gave an order to take control of a house where several civilians were killed, could bolster the defense of the three enlisted men charged with murder in the case, lawyers said, because it would show that they were following orders.
Lieutenant Kallop, 25, is one of at least eight marines granted immunity to testify about the attack on Nov. 19, 2005, that killed 24 people after the marines’ convoy was struck by a roadside bomb that killed Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas. Four officers also face charges of dereliction of duty for the way they dealt with the initial report of what happened in Haditha.
Earlier this month, Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, the Marine officer overseeing the prosecution of the case, dismissed charges against a fourth enlisted marine, Sgt. Sanick P. Dela Cruz, 24.
General Mattis granted immunity to Lieutenant Kallop on April 3, days after lawyers for another marine facing murder charges asked the Marine Corps to grant immunity to Lieutenant Kallop so he could testify at hearings for the men, said Kevin B. McDermott, a civilian lawyer for an officer charged in the case. The grant of immunity was first reported in The Washington Post yesterday.
Several lawyers for the marines charged in the case said the deal strengthened the arguments of the three enlisted men.
“It’s central to the case if an officer is telling marines to take the house,” said Brian J. Rooney, a civilian lawyer for Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, the highest-ranking officer charged in the case.
Mr. McDermott, who represents Capt. Lucas McConnell, the company commander who was not present during the killings, said the immunity deal bolstered his client’s case.
“If the government’s not going to charge the lieutenant that was at the scene and gave the order to clear the house,” Mr. McDermott said, “I don’t know how he’s not in the same boat as McConnell.”
At least seven other marines have also been granted immunity to testify at preliminary hearings scheduled for next month, lawyers said.

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